Name: Edward Holterman
Road Name: Santa Ed
FNG YEAR: 2010
HOW MANY TIMES ATW: 10
WHICH ROUTE: SOUTHERN ROUTE
Positions HELD: 6 YEARS AS PLATOON LEADER,CAMPING COORDINATOR for 4 years?, And 2 years as an AMBASSADOR, Tail gunner 1 year.
MILITARY VETERAN: Army Vietnam AUGUST 66 – August 9th 67 wasn’t as tough as coming home. That was when I went in a holding pattern for 42 years. I was very angry and felt the survivors “Guilt”.
Gold or blue star: no
Participate in rolling thunder: yes 9 years except 1 year when my bike was running poorly.
Will you participate in rolling to remember: yes
What inspired you to ride for 1st time:
After attending a patriot guard mission in southern California I met “Top Sarge” and her husband. They told me about RTFW. Upon returning home I talked with lifelong Vietnam friend. He had been reading about RFTW on the internet. We both have had a lot of issues since serving in Vietnam. In fact, hardly ever talked or mentioned it for 42 years. No patches or hat. So, one day I purchased 2 Vietnam hat, took one for him and told him it is time we wear these and we have ever since. So, he meticulously planned out the trip in 2010. We agreed if either of us couldn’t go All The Way, the other one would. His bike broke down in Las Cruces and was unable to get it fixed. So as promised, I continued on. I really wanted to quit and go home feeling alone and not knowing anyone. I did make it to DC and finally after all the RFTW was over. I tried to go to my panel at around midnight, still not able to. I had been to the wall four times prior to this but could never go to the panel. While waiting to ride in Rolling Thunder, I set over on the grassy knoll and met some very good friends, and to this day we have become close “brothers”. I did Rolling Thunder and rode right out west and home.
What Brought you back:
On the 3000-mile ride home, I was able to think about the past few weeks. Still very bothered by the WALL. My friend who broke down decided to bring his brother, wife and a pickup pulling a toy hauler. So, we made plans for one more try. We both made all the way on Southern Route. Still no change at the wall.
I was pulling my tent trailer, so when I was placed in “wagon train” or “trailer trash” PLATOON they needed another Tailgunner. Now I knew a few people from previous year, but pretty much still a loner. Still no change at the wall.
After riding back home 3000 miles, I decided I would try one more time. I rode with a friend from Patriot Guard Riders in Oregon. We went all the way southern route again. This was the year I met a person who spent a lot of time with me in Rancho. He and I talked about everything. This man later became a Southern Route Coordinator. Having those conversations with him is one of the reasons I continue doing RFTW. On my 6th time to the wall, I was finally able to resolve some of those problems. All because of an angel named “Raven”, who took a picture of me leaving my hat with a letter. She started the healing process. Five others came over to where we were standing. All but one of them are still with us. A chaplain told me, ” We will stay with you here for however long it takes”. I needed to understand why I was here, and they were on THE WALL. After a very long time I started to feel the release of all the guilt and anger. He told me that I needed to tell their story and show that we haven’t forgot them. Now I can go that panel and tell the story. In fact, each year for the past three years we do a “got you 6 at 6” after the run is over on Saturday evening. Many veterans have been there and all because of a special brother we started this.
Without any doubt it was the year I was chosen to help place the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
I do believe RFTW would never have happened if not for Rolling Thunder. We need to show our respect and try to bring everyone home. “Let us never forget”. Like I have told many I would do the “Sandbox Run”, but first the protest ride on Sunday. So, I guess I will be at the Midwest Conflict Wall again for the 4Th Time, but suppose will ride alone again.
After 10 years I have been fortunate to be able to keep participating and now know many brothers and sisters who are some of the best family I’ve ever had. I was visiting with Stoney in Ontario prior to the run a few years ago. I told him if it wasn’t for the FNG’S the run would end. He said “If it wasn’t for the returning participants there wouldn’t be a RFTW. How true “Charlie Mike”. So, I make it my mission now to try and talk to and get to know every FNG. RFTW HAS become the best part of each year. “Den Mother” has been on several runs. She has inspired many to come on the run and several are now in leadership roles.
Thank God for keeping me healthy enough to continue and I love all RFTW participants…
IS IT MAY YET!!!!!!