With October’s cooling temperatures, at least in the Northeast, comes the changing of the leaves, the departure of the hummingbirds, and the need to get the house and cars ready for the coming winter. While for some this time of year may bring a slight slowdown in certain areas, our dedicated volunteers are hard at work making sure RFTW 2024 will be a resounding success.
I often think of what goes into preparing for each Mission; of how the desire to serve those who served, those who are still serving, those who are no longer with us, drives and motivates us. Each and every volunteer gives of their time and treasure to ensure that we continue to “Ride for those who can’t”. I wish I could offer more than the tip of my hat, but please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated by all.
As many know by now, we will be launching from Ontario again this year, and again, we expect many of our meetings and gatherings will again be at the Elks club. We listened to your AARs and will be making some adjustments to the meeting rooms and services provided at the Elks, but they are warmly opening their facilities to us and again welcoming us with open arms. As Carol continues to finalize our plans, there will be more to follow on this topic.
Several folks have suggested we return to Rancho Cucamonga. I remember staying and launching out of Rancho, and it was a great place for our departure. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control dictated we find a new launch site, and Ontario and the Ontario Visitors Center (OVC) stepped up and are also welcoming us with open arms. The OVC recognizes the value and importance of our Mission and does so many things to aid and support us. The OVC is a great organization and an invaluable asset in our efforts!!
As much as I wish we could return to Arlington National Cemetery, that simply isn’t in the works again this year. However, it looks like Carol has secured our ride to Riverside National Cemetery!! Preliminary plans have us staging and departing from the Elks club on Tuesday. This is good news as the Elks are planning on having coffee and breakfast ready prior to our departure. As in the past, participants MUST be registered prior to riding in this event. The RCs were notified on route responsibilities for supporting this effort and are adjusting plans to fit this into the schedule.
As sometimes happens, good news is tempered with some not so good news. As I’m sure everyone is aware, costs are rising across the country, so please be prepared for increased hotel rates, etc., as you work on your plans. The BoD is working on several initiatives to try and alleviate the price increases, but I doubt we will have them in place for RFTW 2024. While most hotels have nationally recognized names and associations with national chains, they are privately owned, with rates set by the franchise owners. That said, we are working with some of the corporations to try and establish a national rate for our riders.
As we’ve discussed earlier in the year, there have been several changes to the Bylaws and SOPs regarding fundraising activities, use of intellectual property, the Rider Code of Conduct, along with other areas. Your RC and ARC are your primary points of contact for these and similar issues. Please ensure you are communicating with them on any plans that affect their route activities.
As an ending note, I encourage you to support the Mission, support your Route Coordinator, take the time to engage others and talk about our Mission and if you can, volunteer to be a resource for your route as well as a rider. Attend any local RFTW rider support groups and encourage our FNG’s. We need your continued support!!
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’s remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!
Is it May yet?
John “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