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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter September 2022

Paul Marshall

Registration Begins September 11, 2022 at 8:45 am EST. Changes have been made to the registration process. Registrants will be able to complete the entire registration process online. This includes completing the liability waiver and emergency contact forms, and choosing the preferred method of formation riding – side-by-side or staggered. The actual “check-in” for Run for the Wall XXXIII will take place in Ontario, California or one of our Evening stops. Be sure to bring your current driver license (endorsed for motorcycle), Proof of Insurance and registration.

With another month of planning under our belts, we are yet another month closer to kick-stands-up on 17 May 2023. In August, meetings were held with the Board of Directors and Route Coordinators from all four routes). A separate meeting with Central Route (CR) leadership included volunteers from the Registration Team, Medical Team, the Quartermaster, and other key members of CR leadership, such as our chaplains. And this month, we’ll begin developing  the CR itinerary for RFTW XXXIII.

If you’ve been following the CR Newsletter, you’ll know we just completed another mission at the Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico, on 3 September 2022. This CR Service Mission and Bricklaying Ceremony, while not a sanctioned RFTW event, is important in the lives of many veterans and their families. This year alone, Riders from Central Route Riders (with welcome assistance from Midway and Southern Route Riders) installed another 500+ named bricks, 12 Medal of Honor Bricks and over 500 blank spacer bricks at the memorial. From all accounts, the bricklaying ceremony was a tremendous success. The riders also had the chance to catch up and “talk story” about past experiences on the Run as well as attend a “rider’s Forum” on Saturday Night. A hearty thank-you to all volunteers.

Why do we ride with RFTW? We realize all participants have their own reasons for joining the Run. Some of us served in Vietnam. Some served in subsequent conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan. We also realize that families and friends, in large measure, served right along with us. Which makes it all the more important that participants remember how the RFTW mission statement begins; “to promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends”.

Chaplains are here to help:  Keeping the RFTW mission in mind, as well as the individual needs of participants, our CR Chaplains dedicate themselves to fulfilling this part of the mission by providing crucial services to those in need. You might not yet realize it, but your (and our families’) decision to join RFTW is likely the first step in accepting the need to begin the healing process.

You will find our CR Chaplains, walking through the platoons at each stop, making themselves available if someone needs to talk. Should a participant become upset or uneasy, Chaplains are there to listen, to comfort and to console – to get us back on track to complete our personal mission. And, should a participant experience an illness or injury, a Chaplain will be there to assist in any way they can. Everyone wearing a Chaplains brassard is actual clergy, trained to listen, and everything you say to them is confidential. You may find that once you get things off your chest, you won’t have to go any further and the healing has already begun.

Calling all volunteers! We’ve had a great response to requests for volunteers. While most CR leadership positions are currently filled, experience has told us that changes can occur several times before we begin the Run, and even after the Run begins. If you don’t get picked up for your desired position, consider helping out on one of the other teams such as the fueling team, staging team, road guards, registration, medics, or chase vehicles. If such an assignment appeals to you, contact me or Nick Hentges as soon as possible, and we will forward your request on to the appropriate team leader.

Finally, have you checked out the information posted on the RFTW website regarding new riders. For example, how do you pack efficiently for a 10 day cross country ride? Take a look at the RFTW website. There are many Frequently asked Questions on the website (with answers) such as suggestions on what to pack.

I make it a point to pack small, light and portable. If you have questions, try blasting it out on the RFTW Forum.

And, while you’re thinking about what to pack, get out and ride your bike – now!