San Juan Capistrano, CA
December 13, 2016
Wow, where has this year gone? Christmas already! And with the New Year just waiting in the wings. This, of course, means that we are over halfway to the next Run, but I’m afraid that the riders in some sections of our country will not be getting much riding in between now and then. Looks like a hard winter in the north central and north east, if what we have seen so far is any indication of what the future might bring. Every time a storm comes across Portland or San Francisco, the folks to our right get nailed. In So. CA we get nothing! This, naturally, is a blessing for most of us down/over here.
What has the BOD been up to? The usual stuff, working with our Coordinators to ensure that all is ready for the middle of May. They are all doing a fine job. All indications are that the Hotel list will be published right on time this year on Jan 1st and not a minute before. Unfortunately, Social Media has acted unofficially to announce that rooms were available in Arlington, VA and the Host Hotel seems to be sold out. So, if you by some minor miracle have some inside information, please don’t broadcast it far and wide. We need to make sure that our FNGs get a room in the Host City, at least, preferably at the host hotel. As for Ontario, we, and that does include me, do not even have the call-in number yet in order to make our reservations. Ken Hargrove, our Ontario, CA Hotel Coordinator informs me that there will be only one number made available for reserving a room in the RFTW block and that is the number we have yet to get. There is not a very big problem, however because the reservation desk has indicated that they WANT to take on the entire ridership!
In case no one has noticed yet, we have put the Benevolence Fund page back up for those qualifying organizations and individuals needing some level of financial assistance associated with the Run and/or our mission. I will borrow some language from Kathy, our webmaster, who has done an excellent job over the past year in assisting us with this website endeavor:
“The Benevolence Fund exists to provide scholarship funding to organizations that support veterans and the Run for the Wall mission to promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call
for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.
In addition, the Benevolence Fund provides scholarships to individual veterans or active duty military so they are able to participate in The Run. There is a large population of Vietnam Veterans, our “old warriors” that participate every year to receive a welcome home, respect and healing. However, taking a cue from the Native American culture these “old warriors” look to reach out and help the “young warriors” as they return from their service to our great country. While the younger generation of veterans probably will never face the persecution from the general public that Vietnam Vets did, The Run understands these warriors still face the
inevitable side effects—both physical and mental.”
The forms are available on our new website under the “About” tab at the top of the page, and then choose RFTW Benevolence Fund. Forms can be either mailed in or submitted on line. Under normal circumstances the paperwork is due in to the Board by the end of the year, but inasmuch as that milestone is already upon us, we have extended the due date until the end of February, but we will then absolutely have to shut is down to give us time to review the applicants and make some decisions. If you have any questions, my email address is posted below and on the website.
I know that it might seem early to mention this, but if anyone is considering stepping up to a leadership position, now is the time to make that known. Most positions have already been filled for this coming May, but things happen between now and then and I’m sure that some vacancies will develop. If you want to participate, let the Route Coordinators know now. If something comes up they can consider those who have expressed an interest. And there is always the Run in 2018. It does seem like it is still far away, but we start filling positions for next year on this year’s Run. By September, the cadre is pretty much identified. The senior positions require that you have completed the Run “All the Way”, but some of the others do not. For some of our existing leaders, there is always the potential to move on – Board positions open up every year. We do not encourage FNGs to take on any responsibility beyond getting themselves to Arlington safely. I know, you have been riding for 40+ years and handling a motorcycle has become second nature. BUT this journey is different. You will see. Brace yourself. It’s like no other experience you have had.
If anyone has any questions, comments or concerns, what so ever, I encourage them to contact a Board Member so that these concerns can be put on our agenda and discussed on our monthly meetings. Contact info for the Board of Directors is listed on the website. (My email is Harry.Steelman@RFTW.us and my cell phone is: (949) 422-8325, but email is by far the best as I do still have a “real” job and can’t always take a call. Our monthly BOD meetings are by conference call and are held in closed session. Our next Face to Face will be in Phoenix in Feb., which will also be a closed session. I will report on what we discuss. Again I want to reiterate to all what an honor I consider it to be to be asked to serve you all in this capacity. I have taken a past president’s, parting comments to heart: We (expressly the BOD) need to always remember “Why we do this” and that “Providing a healing experience for the Riders should be our paramount concern.” In fact EVERYONE should strive to remember this as we prepare for our next journey.
My wife and I want to wish everyone the most joyous of seasons, regardless of how you may or may not celebrate it. I will write again after our Feb. face-to- face. In the meantime –
Harry “Attitude” Steelman
RFTW BOD – 2016-2017