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President’s Message – December 2023

Winter has arrived in south central Pennsylvania. While we have not had any appreciable snow, the temperatures and the winds remind us that mother nature is in charge. As the earth takes this time to relax and prepare for the next season, we too should try and make time for relaxation. I try and remind myself that every winter day that passes brings us one day closer to spring!

The last couple of months have been especially difficult for many of our Run family, and I ask that we continue to reach out and offer our friendship and understanding. Our Mission must endure, and we should be especially sensitive to the need for healing.

Recently, Cornell “Thumper” Penn resigned as the RC for Sandbox route for personal reasons. In true RFTW spirit, Heidi “Blue” Hansing agreed to step up as the RC. On Tuesday, 12 Dec. in a special BoD meeting, the Board approved Blue’s ascension to RC. I ask that you give Blue and her team all the support possible as she and her team continue the critical elements of route planning. Heidi will be submitting her nomination for ARC shortly, so more to come.

We continue to reach out to other veteran-centric organizations to spread the word about the Run. We are working diligently to attract riders of all wars and conflicts so that our MISSION and goals continue to resonate across our landscape. As our rider demographics adjust to the ages of our older warriors, we need to ensure our younger warriors know and understand that we look forward to them joining us and carrying on the Mission. On that same note, on December 18th, Ted “Boots” Kapner and I will be interviewed on a podcast scheduled for release on 22 Dec. The For Vets Sake podcast is a monthly presentation as they work to educate Veterans on benefits, services, tributes and discuss all things veteran. You can typically find them on Apple and Spotify, and with this episode, there should be video available on their YouTube channel.

We need your help to expand our outreach to veteran organizations, to military organizations, to those who care and support our Mission. We have presentation templates so that the message we carry to outside organizations is consistent and meet the intent of RFTW. Remember, the Mission isn’t simply about going All the Way; it is about making a statement through participation!! Whether you ride one leg, three days, or ATW, we need our voices and the voices of those who cannot ride, to be raised and heard at the highest level. We Ride for Those Who Can’t!!!

Speaking of 2024, if you haven’t yet registered, I encourage you to do so before 1 February when the registration fee goes up from the “Early Bird” rates. Currently, our registration numbers are behind last year’s. We kept registration fees at the 2023 level and there is still time to take advantage of the early registration discount. Since the accuracy of our registration numbers drive the State Coordinators’ planning, if you haven’t yet registered, please CLICK HERE to register today! If, for whatever reason, you are electing NOT to ride this year, we would love to hear from you, especially if the reason is related to our organizing and executing the Run. There is a contact form on the website. We are genuinely interested in hearing from you!

Please keep in mind that your RC and ARC are your primary points of contact for questions regarding route activities. While we all have our Mission and rider’s best interests at heart, they are the primary movers and shakers for their respective routes.

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.

If I do not get the opportunity to speak with you, it is my sincere wish that each and everyone have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season. For whatever you celebrate, may you find comfort, joy, and peace within.

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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