There are twenty-some days until we go Kick Stands Up in Ontario. I hope your bike and you are ready for this mission. These are exciting days ahead so thank you all for making the 31stAnnual Run For The Wall the mission of your choice. Please ride safely to Ontario and any other route stops you have chosen along the way.
I would like to take a little time to express my appreciation for all the volunteers who make this mission successful – and folks it’s a long list! This year I would like to give a big thank you to all of our State Coordinators along all four routes. Each year these folks work endlessly to support this mission with securing donated fuel, meals, hotels, road information, press releases and fund raisers on the off season. They are absolutely a huge part of our family. Many ride bikes on their routes and continue their service as we progress to Washington. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Route Coordinators, “Thank You” for all you do.
Since this will be my last message prior to Ontario I want to pass on some information that will benefit everyone who rides with RFTW.
The Gateway Hotel (Host) in Ontario has been one of the most supportive hotels we have ever had. I do not have enough room here to list everything they donate to RFTW so I will just say it is substantial. When you arrive at this hotel you will note that, like last year, there still is construction going on—mainly on the first floor. So, we have agreed to certain stipulations in an effort to work around this construction.
- Riders who are booked at the Gateway and guests who visit be patient with the employees at the check-in desk.
- There are limited, if any, first floor guest rooms.
- The registration rooms and some of the meeting rooms plus the lobby and the restaurant will be open.
- There will be a buffet dinner on Monday and Tuesday nights for $16, and a buffet lunch on Tuesday for $13.
- Carol Olmstead, CA State Coordinator, will have a box in the lobby with cards to post notes to go to the Wall.
- And one last thing, there is no smoking closer that 250 feet from the front doorway. (We talked about parking last month.)
At our April meeting all the Route Coordinators briefed the board that their routes are ready to go. Based on their briefings I think this year’s mission is set to be outstanding with many outreach missions and other programs along the routes. For new participants, these outreach missions range from visiting memorials, VA Hospitals, POW/MIA and Gold Star families and cemeteries. Many FNG’s will be invited to join the platoons that accomplish these missions. The “breakout” platoon or platoons will leave the pack led by RFTW leadership including Ambassadors and Road Guards. Once the mission is complete, you will rejoin the pack either at the rear or at a fuel stop where staging crews will guide you back into the platoons. These missions are important and you will see the honor in participating immediately. “We Ride For Those That Can’t.”
Since the announcement of the Sandbox RECON mission earlier this month RC Miller and his staff have been busy finalizing their mission to complete a reconnaissance of a two- and one-half-day mission from Washington, DC to Marseilles, Ill., at the Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall. The mission is designed to finalize the route infrastructure so the first operational mission can be conducted in 2020.
The Sandbox Route has been created to honor our brother and sister warriors who have performed courageously even prior to the 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut to Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and all others in between. Vietnam veterans understand the need for warriors to have a wall where they can honor and remember the sacrifices made by those we lost in battle. It is part of the healing process to know those who were lost will never be forgotten. We get it.
It is a conduit between Vietnam era and Current Conflict veterans, with a place for healing, reflecting and receiving a warm “Welcome Home” so richly deserved.
The recon group will meet with organizations, and will check out hotels, VFW and American Legion facilities and memorials along the way to make a truly fantastic mission in 2020. Invite younger warriors and supporters you know to join us next year.
National Desert Storm/Desert Shield Memorial
Another commitment RFTW has made in 2019 is to donate funds to the National Desert Storm/Desert Shield Memorial planned for Washington, DC. According to their website, the goal of the memorial is to create an educational, meaningful and moving experience for visitors that:
- Educates them about the historical events of Desert Storm and Desert Shield;
- Identifies each of the coalition countries that united to liberate Kuwait;
- Memorializes all the names of Americans who sacrificed their lives in the war;
- Reflects the unique environmental and battle conditions;
- Leaves visitors with an enduring memory of the historical significance and accomplishments of Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
The RFTW BoD would like to send a message that RFTW backs all servicemen and women from all wars. In doing so the Black Sheep ministry will be shining boots outside the Gateway Hotel in Ontario and a collection of ‘Nam Marvel comic books—collector edition condition—will be raffled off. The donations from these two events will go to the National Desert Storm/Desert Shield War Memorial Fund. Look for other opportunities to donate along your routes—all Route Commanders have agreed to raise money for this fund.
The Rocking Double M Ranch (Mike “Bandit” and Melanie “Sassy” Huber) Steer Auction
It’s always fun to have Mike “Bandit” Huber on stage and this year will be no different. Bandit will be the auctioneer as Midway Route auctions off two donated steers, Rib-eye and T-bone, with proceeds going to Falcon Children’s Home and Milan, N.M., Elementary School. The auction will take place Monday, May 13 at 5 p.m. in the Gateway Hotel lobby. Check out fliers posted around the lobbies of the Gateway and Holiday Inn for details. Grab a cold one and come join us individually or as a group in an auction team. This will be a lot of fun!
It’s almost May!
Les “Easy” Williams
RFTW BoD President