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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter March 2023

Paul Marshall

RFTW XXXIII Is On! At the annual Run for the Wall (RFTW) face-to-face meeting, held at the end of February, the Board of Directors (BOD) voted unanimously to authorize the launch of RFTW XXXIII. Check your calendars – May 17, 2023 is coming up fast.

Exclusive Film Preview for RFTW XXXIII
Save the Date and Time
Monday, 15 May 2023, 1900 hours

We have a unique opportunity to see the movie “Courage”, a 1-hour movie about POWs in WWII and Vietnam – a movie which directly ties into an important part of the RFTW mission – “to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA)”.

I first saw a special showing of “Courage” months ago in San Diego, and found it to be quite moving – I think you will too…

The producer of “Courage”, William Lowe, is a graduate of the University of California Film School, and is retired from the film industry after more than 30 years in the business. Mr. Lowe is truly committed to supporting veterans, and the mission of RFTW. His own father was a WWII veteran who, only months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, had been a crewmember on the USS Arizona – perhaps more on that at the showing.

As a tribute to all veterans, Mr. Lowe is inviting RFTW participants to enjoy the movie free of charge. He will also be present at the showing to answer any questions you may have. For their part, the Elks Lodge is graciously providing their theater (the Teresa Seconne Room) at no cost to RFTW. The Elks are also offering an evening meal at a modest price, which will be served prior to the showing, in the grill area adjacent to the theater. Movie viewers are asked to refrain from bringing food into the theater, but drinks are permissible).

Unfortunately, there will only be 300 seats available in the theater, so you will want to get there early. In fact, all RFTW participants are encouraged to arrive in Ontario, CA early on Monday morning to give yourself plenty of time to check in and find your hotel rooms. That will also give you plenty of time to make your way to the Elks’ theater for dinner (1700-1900 hours), and the viewing of “Courage” at 1900 hours.

Planning update:  I can’t believe it’s March already – about 75 days from kickstands up (KSU). Already, CR has 373 riders and supporters registered for RFTW XXXIII. And, planning keeps rolling along. The Central Route (CR) held planning meetings in mid-February to update route details. In attendance were all state coordinators, and many in CR leadership positions, including the Road Guard Captain and Route Planner. CR changes known at that time were incorporated into the draft itinerary, which were then shared with the Board of Directors (BOD) just before the face-to-face meeting at the end of February.

CR also conducted a survey of riders, asking them to select their riding preference. This information will help us determine the proper number of platoons with either side-by-side or staggered formations. We will also do our best to accommodate those riders who expressed a desire to ride in a specific platoon. By the time you arrive in Ontario for check-in, it is quite likely you will already be assigned to a platoon. Please CLICK HERE to fill out the survey. If you do not fill out the survey, you may be assigned to a platoon based on the needs of the Route.

As mentioned in an earlier newsletter, after you complete the check-in process, a member of the registration team will direct you to a location where you will meet up with the CR “FNG Liaison”, Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme. A Marine veteran and long-time RFTW participant, Dave has served as a Platoon Leader, Road Guard, Route Coordinator and BOD member. He is eager to assist new riders (FNGs) as they begin to acclimate to the Run. Dave will give you a brief introduction to RFTW, and explain your next steps, including the schedule of mandatory rider meetings, and the time and location of the “Courage” film. After meeting with Dave, FNGs will begin to have a better understanding of what to expect during the Run. 

Volunteers:  While most support teams are close to completing their rosters, there are still openings in teams such as medical, fueling, staging, chase drivers and hydration. Chase vehicle and hydration team volunteers must have a truck capable of towing a trailer. Those interested in volunteering for one of these positions are encouraged to complete the volunteer form Click Here as soon as possible. Volunteer forms will immediately be forwarded to the responsible team leaders. The BOD itself has also recently announced the recruitment of RFTW Merchandise Teams. These teams require a driver with a truck capable of towing the RFTW merchandise trailer. Riders interested in a merchandise volunteer position should contact BOD member Alan Steiner directly at 425-246-0437.

The Raffle-Rouser Team is also in need of a volunteer with a truck or van capable of hauling a large quantity of donated items. The raffle-rouser team, led by Lance Jones, plays a crucial role in supporting communities across the country that support CR. As we ride across the country, the team helps raise funds for the benefit of several schools we (CR) support. One of the main benefactors is the Rainelle Elementary School in West Virginia. When we visit Rainelle, which has supported CR and RFTW since its beginning in 1989, riders will understand why it is such a special stop.

The raffle-rouser team is requesting the assistance of riders and RFTW supporters, in gathering items for auction. Already this year, Lance has succeeded in getting some community artisans to make hundreds of blankets for schools CR supports. Other items being sought include those hand made by talented community artisans, such as knives, pens, plaques, quilts, afghans and others items suitable as RFTW memorabilia. Lance also encourages riders to solicit local businesses for items such as hats, t-shirts, swag or anything else they are willing to donate. And, because raffled items often must be shipped to winners, riders are asked to be mindful of the size and weight of donated items. If you can help the raffle-rouser team, with donations or as a driver, please call Lance Jones directly at 805-284-1750.

RFTW merchandise:  After a brief pause of RFTW merchandise operations, the online store is once again open for business. This is the place where you can purchase RFTW merchandise such as T-shirts, hats, patches and pins. It’s the same place that I and other CR leadership go to order what we want and need for the Run. It is important for everyone to remember that to receive your orders before you leave home for Ontario in May, you’ll want to place your orders soon – I have already done so. CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW!

Finally, what have you been doing to prepare your motorcycle and yourselves for RFTW XXXIII? We suggest riders take their motorcycles in to check performance and safety items. Riders are encouraged to hit the gym, go walking or anything else you can do to prepare yourself physically. Having done these things, riders can raise their confidence in their preparation, and ability to successfully complete their RFTW mission.

The entire CR leadership team looks forward to meeting you all in Ontario. Keep up the good work, and stay healthy.

Paul “Brush” Marshall

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