The 30th Run For The Wall event is in the history books. It has been my distinct honor to serve as the Central Route Coordinator. I was blessed to have an AWESOME team that I could rely on to accomplish the work that needed to be done to make The Run a success. I was informed by John McKee that in his report to AMA, the Central Route registered 719 riders.
My goal was to complete the Mission with zero accidents; unfortunately that goal was not met. I suppose when you consider that with nearly 2000 participants and collectively over 3 million miles traveled in an activity that carries risk, the odds for attaining the zero goal was slim. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were affected by any incident.
After Action Report: I encourage those who participated in the 2018 Run to take the time to complete an After Action Report so improvements can be made for the 2019 event. The After Action Report can be found on our web site, www.rftw.us.
How do you thank dedicated people who gave so much of themselves over the past eleven months to plan and execute an event like Run For The Wall. I hesitate to name names because someone always gets left out. It begins with State Coordinators, who coordinate the fuel stops, lunches and dinners and arrange for hotels and camping sites to accommodate us on our overnight stops.
Then I must thank Eamon Tansey for accepting my invitation to become Assistant Route Coordinator. He proved to be invaluable in organizing and adding the Gold Star Families Outreach Program, led by Ken Nicholas, to the Central Route. He selected a team that carried out the program that proved to be a huge success. In addition, Eamon led the platoon breakouts that visited several memorials along our route, expanding our visibility to communities.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Chaplain Corps, lead by Curtis Hubbell. Their prayers for a safe and good experience began long before May 16th. I could feel their prayers and support during the difficult times on our journey.
The Registration Team, led by Kris Allen, played an integral role in registering riders and getting them assigned to platoons. Great job!
The Ambassadors Team led by Eric and Sonia Amman has become a very important asset to Run For The Wall. This Team runs ahead of the Pack. One of their tasks is to look for our supporters on overpasses and to thank them for their support. This Team was designed to use RFTW old timers to give them a place to serve. I look forward to putting in my name after I serve my Mentor role next year.
Then there’s the Leadership Support team made up of all the various tasks, beginning with:
Finance Jenny Ward, Larry and Jean Gault
Missing Man Coordinator Tom Pogue
Itinerary/Handbook editor Kirk Olson
Leadership Support Vehicle Everett Paeper
Sit-Rep Writer Roger Hageman
50/50 Rouser Jimmie & Judy Royce
Photographer Dan Ecksten
Videographer Mike Malta
Quartermaster Dan Koster
Friends of Bill Coordinator Jerry Ewing
The Medical Team led by Barb Bell and Wade Wills attended to our medical needs in various situations as they arose. In talking to one of the medics, hydration or rather lack of, was a contributing factor in many of their calls. Thank you.
Speaking of hydration, what would we do without the Hydration Team, led by Ron Masten? They followed us from stop to stop providing us with water and snacks. A big help this year was the 16-ft truck provided by Penske Truck Rental of Loveland, Colorado.
Then there’s the Merchandise Team, made up of Lillian and Doug Hunt, who pulled the Central Route merchandise trailer from stop to stop to sell RFTW items to local supporters who come out to see us. This is an important part of funding our Mission.
How could I not mention the Last Man & Chase Vehicles Team, led by Jim Sloan. I heard so many stories of the selfless giving of these team members to help riders that were having a difficult day. At one point near the end of our journey, I was told that the Chase Team had picked up 54 bikes and delivered to dealers along the way. Plus they had repaired 29 bikes on the side of the road. Well done, team!!
Then there is Dave Talley and the Communications Team. They worked behind the scenes to talk with truckers on the CB radio, asking them to be patient with us and our Mission.
The Fuel Crew led by George Creacy and Dennie Georgette made our gas stops quick and efficient considering the number of riders we had this year. Several times during The Run, I would stand and watch as they orchestrated the refueling operation. A thing of beauty.
The Staging Crew, led by Steve Berniklau and Rick Behymer, flagged the riders coming out of the fuel pumps and directed them to their assigned platoons. This team guided us to our assigned platoons every morning and at every stop. Another well oiled and organized team of dedicated individuals.
I saved the next two teams for last, because they are the ones in charge while the Pack is in motion. First up are the Platoon Leaders who are responsible for their individual platoons. They are responsible for maintaining spacing between platoons and riders within the platoon. It is a teaching and coaching job which they did well as I watch some videos taken from overpasses.
Road Guards — just as the name implies! That band of brothers (and sisters) lead by Tom Miller. On several occasions, I witnessed Road Guards who put their safety aside to protect a rider from intruding trucks and autos. They are the first ones to arise in the morning to help us find the staging areas. While we are in motion, they monitor the riders looking for those who are out of place or causing a rubber banding condition by their riding style. In addition, to all that, they monitor weather conditions looking for anomalies such as micro bursts.
Thanks to everyone who served in various capacities this past year to make my job easier.
My Wall Is Your Wall,
Harlan “Whitebirch” Olson
Central Route Coordinator