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President’s Message

President’s Message:

Run for the Wall - We Ride For Those Who Can't

I hope as we wrap up the “Virtual Run For The Wall” you all found some comfort in all the videos and pictures. From the feedback I have received and the number of hits on the website it was welcomed in all quarters. I want to thank RFTW BOD communications director Nick Hentges, webmaster Ted Kapner, Sitrep writers Jean Gault CR, Jim McCrain MR and Patti Brogan SR/SB for an outstanding job in making the “Virtual RFTW” happen.

I suspect there are many of you who would like some info on how this all ends for RFTW 2020. As you know we have continued a legacy of placing a plaque each year at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Obviously, this year the “Mission Completed” part did not occur, however today, May 23, at Approximately 1230 a plaque was placed at the apex of the Wall to honor this mission “…on behalf of all RFTW riders and supporters.” John Staub, our DC coordinator, and James “Gunny” Gregory, founder, were invited to conduct the final portion of RFTW 2020.

For those who would have ridden on the Sandbox look for the posts from Billie Dunlop as they head to Marseilles, Ill., via another Virtual RFTW Sandbox Route.   

It’s been awhile since I wrote about RFTW without a camera and the associated props. After the videos and the emails promoting RFTW merchandise our family responded with vigor. Thank you all for supporting RFTW in a big way. We are hoping the sales remain steady throughout the summer so I’ll be mentioning them from time to time. Right now, we are flush with pins resulting in great sales on this item.

In a normal year we would be asking routes to return pins that were left over and, in some cases, folks just showed up with bags of left-over pins. Frankly pins have always been a way for RFTW route staff to have a good will offering to our supporters on our ten-day journey to Washington and Marseilles. If we take a big loss this year it will be on these pins. I understand they are a small item but when we buy 30,000 or more it becomes a big problem. So, if I can ask our family, one more time, to purchase our heavily discounted pins we would be grateful. (https://rftw.us/run-for-the-wall-merchandise-shop/)There will plenty of opportunities this summer and fall to pass out our “good will” offerings to everyone you meet at the reunions and other summer outings. Ray has also started the 50 percent off Memorial Day sales on merchandise which should make your shopping much easier.

In other business the board met last week and elected John Staub, our Washington DC coordinator, to the Board of Directors. John lives in central Pennsylvania and recently retired as assistant fire chief of the Army. John will be taking over responsibilities of operations director and will begin his new position July 1 as operations director Doug Lyvere completes his final term of office. Doug has faithfully served RFTW for six years as a member of the board and a long-time road guard for the Southern Route. Doug will continue his road guard duties and we wish him the very best as he moves forward.

Now, that the COVID-19 virus seems to be waning we all must look ahead to the hidden consequences of this virus. As you all know we are all supported by our state coordinators who arrange stops at both commercial entities as well as schools/service-related organizations. The consequences of a national shutdown can and will cause RFTW to be vigilant of who is still in business and those who did not survive the draconian shut down. Good intelligence from our riders will be important in the coming days to keep your route leadership briefed on these closures so adjustments can be made for 2021. If you find one our wonderful vendors struggling, please make an effort to support them once they open up. This matters both for our friends and Run For Wall 2021.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and route coordinators we want you all to know how grateful we are for your support. Stand fast – this hidden enemy will be gone soon as we all work to get America on her feet again.

Is it May 2021 yet?

Respectfully submitted,
Les “Easy” Williams
President Run For The Wall, Inc