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President’s Message February 2021 Part 1

President’s Message

Recently I received calls concerning the death of Don “9 Ball” Morris. Don was a long time Southern Route rider who distinguished himself by riding during the start-up years of the Southern Route. Don’s achievements began with his determination to enhance and build the Southern Route. He worked his way up from participant to route coordinator in 2006 and thereafter became a mentor for many others who call the SR home.

Don was a long-term member of the Board of Directors where he served as the merchandise director. His work ethic was once again instrumental in his success while with the BOD. Don took a struggling merchandise system and turned it into a disciplined and successful process that continues to this day. I want to thank some of Don’s very loyal friends for their assistance in helping Don’s wife, Della, during this sad time, and who have provided us with some of Don’s history. John “Slammer” Gebhards provided the pictures and Don’s history both in the Army and with RFTW. Steve “Hawgwash” Hill has been working with Della in writing Don’s obituary which is included in this message.

Moreover, I would like to thank “Cowboy” Mead and “Top” Neil for their efforts to help compile a list of Don Morris’ Run for The Wall achievements and his exemplary service to our nation during his tours in Vietnam. This writer saw and listened to many of Don’s friends who felt the grief and loss of a great friend and supporter of RFTW. This, folks, is called “family.” 

Rest in Peace, Don, and our sincere prayers for Della in her time of mourning. God Bless the United States.

OBITUARY FOR DON MORRIS – United States Army

Don “9-Ball” Morris was born 7-1-1945 and went to his Eternal Rest on 1-22-2021

Don proudly served his country as an 11B (Infantryman) in Vietnam. During his time in Service, he attended the NCO Academy at Fort Benning, Georgia and attained the rank of SSG (Meritoriously) as the class honor graduate.

He served a tour of duty in Vietnam with “D” Company, 1st of 7th, 1st Cavalry Division where he was awarded the Bronze Star w/Combat Distinguishing Device, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/numerous campaign stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Don returned from Vietnam in July 1969. According to Della, he carried a lot of guilt for the loss of several close friends who he served with in combat including the beloved “Doc” of his unit. Don always strived to lead the life that they would be proud of. He always put others before self.

Upon leaving the service, Don took his place as an entrepreneur in the business world which would later prove beneficial to Run For The Wall.

Don loved motorcycling and became a licensed motorcycle safety instructor in Arizona.

Rising thru the ranks of RFTW, Don served as a road guard, assistant route coordinator in 2005 and route coordinator in 2006. Having a desire to continue serving the RFTW family, Don was selected to the Board of Directors in 2007 and became the Director of Merchandise. Many of the successes of merchandise today are a direct result of Don’s tireless effort to procure, catalog and obtain additional merchandise thru his years of experience in the retail market.

Don leaves behind the love of his life Della, two daughters and a huge extended Run For the Wall family.

Memorial Service for Don “9-Ball” Morris, Vietnam Vet, United States Army:

Palm Valley Funeral Home
10761 W. Grand Avenue
Sun City, AZ 85321

10:00 AM Friday, February 26, 2021

Reception following Memorial Service.
Location and map will be provided at funeral home

Respectfully submitted,
Les “Easy” Williams
RFTW BOD President