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President’s Message – April 2024

Run for the Wall

Happy Easter!! As I sit down to write this, we are 45 days from KSU.

We are getting close. Can you feel it? Is it May yet? Have you completed your packing list? Have you gone through your meds list and made sure you have what you will need? Have you gone over your motorcycle and checked every nut and bolt? Have you checked your tires? Have you taken a few long rides to tune up your body? Are you prepared?

Since before we finished the Run last year, our volunteer State Coordinators (SC) and others have been diligently working on the details for each route. It takes the coordinated effort of thousands to ensure the success of each route. I tip my hat to each and every one that has worked so hard to prepare for Run 2024!

Along that same line, as you pass through the food line at your stops, keep in mind that an entire group of people took time out of their lives to ensure you receive sustenance. Look for a donation jar somewhere along that line and drop a few dollars in to help pay for whatever service it is they are providing. Each route passes through towns where oftentimes the locals are barely scratching out a living, yet here they are donating to our mission. Even if we find ourselves in the most economically prosperous town in America, be thankful, remember to say thank you, pick up your trash, and if you can, offer a donation. Your kindness goes a long way. And remember, nothing is free. We often receive the benefit of donated gas and food, but none of it is free. Each of us is an ambassador for RFTW.

If you have not registered, doing so now will assist our SCs. The more details they can pass on to those supporting us in the towns we visit, the easier the visit will go. Even if you are only going to ride for a day, register as a day rider so we can ensure we accommodate as many people as possible. Early registration also assists the platoon coordinator on each route to better plan the platoon configurations. Take a moment to click here and register.

There are still several volunteer positions available on both Midway and Southern routes. Midway route needs staging team members ( for more information) and Southern route needs Platoon Leaders, Asst. Platoon Leaders, and Tail Gunners (mailto: You can also submit a volunteer form by clicking here.

RFTW leadership is focused on safety. When leading such a large, diverse group of riders with various experience levels, safety needs to be a priority. To that end, we have 348 FNGs registered already. Bernadette “Flat Tire” Staples and Lance “Batman” Wheeler, both certified instructors, are hosting a slow-riding practice session in Ontario on Monday afternoon, 1300-1800 at Lot D. Now there simply isn’t a way we can accommodate everyone, but if you are an FNG or need to practice your slow riding skills, like those skills you will need when you pull into or leave gas pumps, maneuvering around the staging area, hotel, etc., please sign up by sending an email to There is limited availability, so I encourage you to sign up early.

As we transition from planning and preparation to execution of our Mission, our Platoon Leaders and Road Guards step it up to address their responsibilities on the Run; primarily working with a group of riders who have likely never ridden together, let alone in a formation, and molding the group into a team. While every volunteer leader has a vital role, when the rubber meets the road, you will notice the Platoon Leaders working closely with the Road Guards to safely guide you across this great nation of ours. Just like the morning meetings held by the RCs, the Platoon Leaders too will hold morning meetings, most often with a Road Guard in attendance. If you are not up to riding in a particular formation, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, speak with your Platoon Leader or Assistant Platoon Leader. Your PL and APL are there to help and guide you. The same thing holds true if a PL or RG provides guidance or asks you questions. They do so out of concern for your safety. The PLs and RGs are experienced riders and have your best interests at heart. Your safety and the safety of those around you may depend on your listening to their guidance.

I have been documenting the history of the Board and am in a months-long effort to track down all that served on the Board. I have been able to identify 73 people who have served at various times, along with every RC on every route since the beginning of the Run. Many of you jumped in when contacted and assisted, and your contributions aided immensely. Despite our best efforts, I am still missing dates served for: Ronald “Frenchie” Breaux, Mark “Diesel” Breland, Colin “Dr. Doolittle” Campbell, Ron “Rambler” Eschinger, Don “Duckie” Fleischman, Rich “Boomer” Ford, J.R. “Cleaner” Franklin, John “Iron Fish” Handley, Doug “Gator” James, Don “9-Ball” Morris, Tom “T-bone” Ritter, and Dwight “Dutch” Stevens. I called numbers that looked promising, looked through what seems like a gazillion Facebook friends lists, sent messages, etc., and am still missing dates served for these folks. If you have any relevant information on these folks, please email me with that information at Your continued assistance is appreciated!

During this process, I was able to go through some of the archived files to include past newsletters. In doing so I was struck by a number of things. Going back to the first newsletter I could find (1999), there were discussions on the need to focus on the Mission, the reminders of “why we ride” and who we represent. As much as things change, they remain the same. I read that in 2004, there was mention of a post-RFTW run called Wall to Wall. It was a run from D.C. to the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Wall. Today, our Wall to Wall is from D.C. to Marseilles, IL. RFTW newsletters contained stories and testimonials written by riders and submitted for publication. Today, you will find some of the same type of stories posted on various social media sites. Discussions of merchandise available were in every newsletter. Today we rely on social media to get the merchandise word out. That said, one of the things that struck me were the many who volunteered to tell their stories; stories of their Run experiences, their concern for fellow veterans, one even described how his granddaughter received her road name while on the Run. But the one thing that really stood out was that it was Mission first. Reminders to check your attitude were prevalent. As we get ready for Run 2024, please take some time to remind yourself why we ride, and remember, We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

As I announced in last month’s newsletter, we currently have an active Sustainment Committee looking at all things RFTW. The committee is composed of riders from all routes with an eye towards ensuring we are prepared for whatever the future holds. A member of the committee may approach you while in Ontario or on the Run as we are seeking feedback on your thoughts. If you would please, take the time to discuss your ideas or concerns if approached. Your contributions will help us ensure the sustainability of RFTW. And please remember, if you have a suggestion on how we can do things better, fill out a contact form and provide us your input. In the start of your message, please indicate that this contact form is for the Sustainment Committee.

A couple of final things. RFTW does not support any political candidate, position, or opinion. We are a veterans support charitable organization, and we ask that each and every one of you respect that. There is no room for politics on the Run; there will be enough time for that later. And finally, our world is ever changing. Events are sometimes magnets for those whose ideas and ideals do not align with ours. Keep your eyes open, and if you see something, say something. Do not just shrug it off; let a leader know.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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