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President’s Message September 2017

I hope this message finds you well and preparing for the 30th Annual Run For the Wall Celebration. I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone and how busy it has been.

The Board of Directors and Route Coordinators have been working to make this 2018 RFTW a very special time for everyone. The All Route Reunions in Springfield, MO and Angel Fire, NM have been completed giving folks a time to renew friendships and begin new ones.

The Labor Day weekend gathering in Eagle Nest & Angel Fire, NM gave us a chance once again to reflect on the values we all share, while honoring all veterans of all wars. Congratulations to Steve Berniklau and his team on an outstanding working reunion. This effort was very different in that Steve and his team organized and executed the plan to place 414 veteran and active duty honor bricks along the walkways of the Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial.  The Saturday Dinner and reunion welcome was very well done.  We were especially honored to have the RFTW Founder — James “Gunny” Gregory, 2018 Southern Route Coordinator — Chad O’Dell, and 2018 Central Route Coordinator — Harlan Olson in attendance.  A memorial brick was also laid for James “Gunny” Gregory.

On September 22, 2017 the Kerrville, TX All Route Reunion continues the reunion season. Roger “Cowboy” Mead assured me they still have space in the reunion hotel and it is not too late to register – All Are Welcome.

During August, most of us went about our everyday business. Then suddenly very dark clouds appeared on the horizon in the form of Hurricane Harvey. A catastrophe we have never seen before hit Houston, Texas. The State of Texas is home to many of our RFTW riders and supporters. After Harvey came ashore and parked over Houston and surrounding areas, the flooding began. Many of our riders called to see what the Board of Directors could do to help. At the Angel Fire reunion the board voted to start a fund raising project that would aid veterans and supporters in the affected area. The board has challenged riders and supporters of RFTW to raise $10,000 or more for this cause and the board will match up to $10,000. The Angel Fire reunion displayed the generosity RFTW riders are famous for by donating $1,552 to begin this campaign at the Saturday night dinner.

The details of this fund raiser will be similar to how RFTW handled the thousand year flood in Rainelle, West Virginia. Information will soon be available on the Forum and through social media. If you have friends and neighbors who want to help, invite them to join in with us to help the Houston, Texas, area by donating to this cause. If you want to donate now, please send a check to BoD Treasurer:

Ken “Catfish” Ward
1766 S Erie Hwy
Hamilton, OH 45011
Be sure to note on the memo line: “For Houston Relief.”

Mission 25 (M25) will be working with us in this effort through their faith based disaster funding source, Disaster Relief USA (DRUSA). Every dollar donated to this fund will be spent with zero overhead costs. M25 is the organization that provides spiritual help, hydration, snacks, medical assistance and more each year along each RFTW route.

RFTW will be posting a volunteer workers spreadsheet giving our riders and supporters the chance to go to Houston when the water recedes to help veterans clean up the flood damage. M25, led by Gary “Shepard” Burd, will coordinate this hands-on work activity in Houston. Gary stated he needs a steady workforce to complete this mission.

We will post this sign-up sheet soon for those of you who are able to help. After you sign-up you will be notified when they are able to start this mission and when you will be needed. Gary reports that M25 is already feeding volunteer workers and first responders while planning teams will follow shortly to assess workforce and other needs.

Please keep checking the forum and these messages for new updates as soon as we know the needs assessment is complete.

We Ride for Those That Can’t.

Les “Easy” Williams
Board of Directors President

*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©