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May 23, 2024 – Day 9 to DC – Nitro, WV to Lewisburg, WV

Today is the day we go to Rainelle. We have worked all week to raise money for the kids there. It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you get there.

Nick thought he came the farthest to be on the Run since he traveled from Hawaii, but there is a couple here from the Netherlands. He has been a professor at a military academy since 2010. He has been reading up on this mission for a long time and decided to take it. This morning, he told everyone that he will be back and bring lots more of his friends.

Nick read the bio of a person MIA on this date. He also goes to visit them at the cemetery in Hawaii.
Someone volunteers to carry this to the wall. I have mentioned this since we started. We will go to the Vietnam Wall and find the name. We pray for their return and to give their family peace. We will then leave the paper at the wall. FYI all the items left at the wall are collected on a daily basis and archived in a storage facility. Can you imagine how big that is?
We head out to the bikes and are met with a nice surprise. The kids from the school nearby are outside waiting for us to leave. As we were walking to the bikes, they started chanting “USA USA…”. Pretty nice.
Bikes are lined up on the street and ready to roll. Then here comes Gomez. 
He is always a fun face to see.



Sun is trying to come out which is great as long as no rain.


We rode pass the Vietnam Memorial in Nitro…

Hit the road….
….and across Kanahwa River in Charleston WV
….. and right to the capital.

Several of our teams have stopped to salute the Run as we roll in.

As we enter, there is a young man standing, saluting as the pack passes. He has been standing there for the Run every year since he was one.  He is now 19 and will remain standing until all have arrived.


His grandmother worked in one of the buildings in the capital.  The grandmother’s husband is a Vietnam vet. He served from 1966-1969.  One year actually in Vietnam as a radio operator.

They have been married for 52 years.  I admire all the women who have stayed with their husbands from the Vietnam War (or any war).  They too have suffered.  Many of our soldiers have changed and have problems with coping yet the spouses have stayed with them. Thanks ladies.  This goes also for any women that served.  Thanks, guys, for sticking with your wives.

 There is a gold star wall in Charleston. It is the first Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.  It is beautiful.

Fun Fact:


 There is a second monument:

The West Virginia Veterans Memorial is a two-story oval shaped monument honoring more than 10,000 West Virginians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending the nation in twentieth century conflicts. Composed of four limestone monoliths surrounded by a reflecting pool, the interior walls are faced in polished black granite etched with the names of these men and women. 


The bikes have been parked around the front of the capital.


Picture on the steps of the Capital… everyone say “cheese…”  Hey smile!!… hahahah 


It is a beautiful ride up to Rainelle. Thank goodness we did not have rain. 

Enjoy the ride, the supporters along the way 

and the kids once we get to the top of the mountain.

Riders behind me…. Pretty good shot, right?


One of the road guards telling us to slow down.


Even though it is only 70 miles, it will take about 2 hours to get there.

Lots of windy roads but so enjoyable since I am a passenger.  🙂

This kid is waving for all he is worth.  I think the flag is bigger than he is.

Few goes greeting us as we get into Rainelle.  Thanks guys.
Check out the school kids…. All scream and chant USA USA….  Sweet.


The kids so embrace this and what a history education

I think the whole town comes out for this.  I talked to several adults, and they tell me that they were once the kids as the bikes parade thru town. Remember they have been coming here since 1989.
The riders feel like “Rock Stars” when all the kids ask for their autograph.

Ron always has his shirt for them to sign.  Looks like one of the riders is getting in on the action.

All the kids have these shirts “We Are the Future”.


This is so true.

Most of the riders have brought little trinkets for the kids.


It is like Halloween but no candy.

AHHH turnabout is fair play Ron.  We do not see this too often.


Piper even gets in on the action to hand things out.
One of the teams, not normally in the front, is the Ambassador team.  You have seen the many bridges with a few to maybe up to 50 people.  The ambassador hit the bridges and thank them for their patronage.  They also go to kids’ schools and thank them for their support.  I talked to Eric and Sonya to see if they could give me something to post.  I hope you take time to read all of this.  This group is truly a family in so many ways.  Thanks Sonya and Eric for all you do.
The Ambassadors met Megan and Sophia Angel the first year the Ambassador Team formed. We went to Valley school in Smithers. That first year Sophia was a kindergartner. She proudly stood up and told us her daddy served but died. Since that first visit, we have stopped at her school and watched her grow up into the beautiful young woman she is. Today she rode with Ambassadors from Nitro to Rainelle to honor her father. Sophia rode with Stephen Omoletski which is why he is in picture with us. Who knows, maybe next year Megan and Sophia will go all the way. 😉
Jefferey Scott Angel II
Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, US Army SGT, C Co, 4th Bn, 101st Aviation Regt, 159th CAB, 101st Airborne Division. Skyline, US, 09/11/2007
Sergeant Jeffrey Scott Angel II joined the Army in November 2002 and arrived at Fort Campbell May 2003.  He had been to Iraq 3 times but was killed along with two other soldiers in a training mission in Alabama on September 11, 2007 as he was preparing to go overseas for the fourth time
The three Soldiers were traveling in a helicopter that went down at approximately 7 p.m. near Skyline, Ala., in Jackson County, on September 11.  They were flying from Fort Campbell to Chattanooga Municipal Airport in Chattanooga at the time of the crash.
His awards and decorations include the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Aviator badge.
He was a graduate of Valley High School at Smithers, where he was a quarterback for Valley’s football team and captain of its baseball team. Besides playing football and baseball, Scott also loved hunting deer and fishing.
Angel (age 24), of Gauley Bridge, W.Va., was a Black Hawk helicopter repairer. He leaves behind a wife and daughter, and his parents.
After seeing the kids, she is ready to ride all the way next year and Stephen said he would love to have her ride with him.  Hope to see you next year!!!
Lunch is serveed.  As we walk down the halls there are posters everywhere for all the year the Run has been thru here.
One of the best things is the banana pudding.  Crawfish is loving this!!!!

As we are eating lunch, it is raining.  Glad it waited until we got here.  Thanks again for all the prayer warriors that pray for our safe travels.

Kim is the principal here.  She runs a tight ship, and you can tell the kids really respect her.

We all say the Pledge of Allegiance….
The town put up a tent once they saw the weather forecasted.  Nice job guys.


All the kids are in the tent along with some of the riders.

The music teacher gets on the speaker and asks the kids to stand

as they are going to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.
Great thing……all the riders joined… darn allergies. This was soo cool.

RFTW presented Kim with our donation… She is about in tears.  This money is used for so many things:  field trips, new playground equipment, computers, school supplies…..

Here is your leadership Kim….. We will be back next year.

Temps: 63-70 

Route: I-64E, Rt 60

Miles: 121

Quote:  The Price of Freedom is Written on the Wall

1 thought on “May 23, 2024 – Day 9 to DC – Nitro, WV to Lewisburg, WV

  1. Tears are flooding around over here… Wow the photos are priceless, thank you so much for sharing all of this. Brings back so many wonderful memories from my ride in 2018’… Hoping to make it next yr. So glad all is going so well for everyone.
    ALL THE WAY !!!

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