Today was another great day on the RFTW. We rode in front of a storm the entire day, keeping dry and out of harm’s way. This is but one of the many miracles that happen on the Run. I’ll tell you of a couple more that have happened in the days to come.
I rode out with our Ambassador Team to visit folks on overpasses supporting our riders. It was a new perspective for me to see how these great men and women become the face of the RFTW by greeting and acknowledging the time and effort so many people put into setting up flags and banners, then waiting for us to pass by. They sometimes spend an hour or more in miserable weather all for a few minutes of supporting us. What those supporters may not realize is that what they do gives us more drive and commitment to complete the mission. Ambassadors range out about 30 minutes ahead of the main pack. When they see a bridge lined with supporters they “drop off” a couple of their team to the bridge to thank the supporters and hand them ride pins. Sonia, one of the Ambassador team leads, told me that one of the people she spoke to earlier on this Run was so grateful that she stopped. He had been coming out to cheer on our riders for more than a decade and in that period not one person had stopped. This is also why we ride. We acknowledge those who sacrifice to support us, just as our servicemen and women sacrificed to make it possible.
For lunch, we went into Concordia, MO where Lori Wilson and her team welcomed us with open arms. Lunch was, as always amazing. As we enjoyed our food, kids from the community gave us care packages. Each package contained a button made by the children along with a pre-addressed envelope for us to use upon our return home. Their hope is to receive a number of these envelopes stuffed with details about the riders, their RFTW experience, and where they are from. The older kids organized groups to clean up the park where we met, volunteered to move tables, and helped with clean-up as well. After acknowledgments of those who contributed to make lunch a reality, one of the most amazing moments of the day occurred. Lori invited everyone to join in singing the National Anthem. Wow, so many voices, so many patriots putting their heart into our National Anthem.
Our final stop was in Wentzville, the home of the first Vietnam Memorial in the US. The massive US Flag that we ride under is astounding and brings me to tears every time I see it. The local service organizations put on a fantastic ceremony where we honor both riders and local heroes such as Lance Corporal Schmitz, who was lost in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan during the abrupt withdrawal in August of 2021. Dinner was steak and potatoes with all the trimmings. Thank you, Wentzville for another great visit.
Special thanks to Mama G for helping with today’s SitRep. I was absent for the stop in Concordia.