Another FNG Story from 2019

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    • #21347
      Run For The Wall

      Submitted by Joseph Lawson

      My 2019 FNG/ATW Run For The Wall journey.

      I would like to say thank you to all the wonderful people who make this such a wonderful event. With that said now on to my story.
      I am from Eastern Kentucky and have been around some of you for several years now. I had wanted to make this trip and just never was able till now to do so. I wanted to do this to honor my cousin James “Cowboy” Spencer who was a Vietnam veteran. James was always a very close family member for me. He and my farther raised us kids in the woods hunting and teaching us how to be respectable young men as we worked the farms. James was the first one there for me when my farther passed away and I never could find a way to properly repay him till I learned of RFTW. We lost James a few years ago and now stars had aligned for me to honor his life and make the run.
      There were so many from the run that had reached out to me and had offered so much help with the planning of my trip that I knew I would make it! I did however decide to make the trip out to Ontario alone. Just me and James and the man above. This was a powerful trip in itself for me. Something just kept telling me that this would be a journey that would forever change me. Upon arriving in Ontario I was swept away at the sight of the family that I was about to enter. Smiles everywhere! Once we started to cross this great nation I was constantly left in tears as we would roll out of the towns we had just visited. Once again something was whispering in my ear that you’ve not seen the best part yet. With every new town that we rolled into I was like it doesn’t get any better than this but, then we would roll into the next town and yep it was even better. I didn’t realize at the moment that it was not the towns were getting better but it was me opening up to this journey. I was given the honor to ride Missing Man across Eastern Kentucky into West Virginia to honor James. This is when it really hit me of just how important RFTW is to so many not just me. Still there was that whisper of you haven’t seen the best part yet. As many of you know the nest day would be the ride into Rainelle W.V. Man I tell you that the energy from this little town hits you as soon as you drop off the mountain to enter it! Being greeted like Rockstar’s when you pull up in front of the school is amazing! Not that we hadn’t been treated like this all the way across but this was different. So now you may be asking what can be better than that but I still had that whisper. This would be the day that I would get my answer. You see when riding with around 500 individuals you don’t get to meet them all in 9 days. Today though I would be honored to meet a very special person who had been with us from the start. As the day was coming to an end it was time for me to move on to my room in Lewisburg. Leaving the school walking down the sidewalk I see a lone individual making his way back to his bike as well. Now having the gift of gab I struck up a conversation with him. He informs me that he is from California and I in return let him know that I am from Eastern Kentucky. He smiled and told me that he had served with a very dear man to him from there. He tells me that they called him “Cowboy”. Well this froze me in my tracks. I asked him to take a look at a photo on my bike that I had of James. He informs me that this is the man that he was referring to and then proceeds to tell me that Cowboy had passed away saving him in Vietnam. I had the pleasure to let him know that Cowboy made it out and lived a full journey. The whisper in my ear said thank you. I now knew it was James with me and that this is why everything came into order for me to make this ride this year. You see I feel that even though I felt like I was doing this to honor James, it was James who gave me the honor to help him one last time. We sat there for a very long time just in silence and a arm around each other. After this day of events I was truly changed. I know that I have done my best to honor not just James but everything he stood for. This journey has brought me even closer to the respect and family of RFTW.
      From the grateful son of a Korean Veteran and honored cousin of a Vietnam Veteran, thank you for such a life changing journey and new found family that RFTW has given not just to me but also to the countless number of people that it has touched.

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