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President’s Message – September 2018

The Board of Directors met in early August and were briefed by the Route Coordinators on how the planning process was proceeding. Most of the leadership positions have been filled, but the process is still not complete. Midway Route had five vacancies in State Coordinator positions at that time, however all of these positions have now been filled, and all are busy with planning for RFTW 2019. Midway also briefed several changes to their itinerary in Arizona (Kingman) and North Carolina (Fayetteville).  Details of these changes are being worked out and will be published by Midway RC Glenn “Wombat” Waggoner in a future Midway RC message.  RC messages are published monthly on the website under the Run Information tab.

Another issue discussed was the large number (320) of “walk-in” registrations from all three routes in 2018. That amounts to 16 platoons we had no information on for planning purposes. In this case information does equal safety. Moreover, the manhours to enter these 320 handwritten registrations into the database takes weeks given hard-to-read handwriting, forms that were rained on while written on a tailgate of a pickup, and phone calls to straighten out unreadable blocks of information. The BOD, and the Risk Manager in particular, want everyone to know that when you register online you do not have to make the $30 payment. You can wait to pay when you pick up your packet at whatever location you join RFTW.

The BOD announced that beginning with the 2019 RFTW, any walk-in riders who have not pre-registered online will be required to pay a $50 fee, if they register as a walk-in, and not online.

During the past few months the RCs and BOD have been working on an array of improvements mentioned in after-action reports. One project that should resolve the problem of FNGs not having enough information prior to the runs is a newly created FNG diary titled, “Ten Days in May.” This covers a generic FNG from Ontario to Washington riding on the Central Route. This information and other FNG-related information will soon be found on the home page under a new tab titled, “FNG Data.” The Board of Directors has asked the Midway and Southern Route Coordinators to find a volunteer to write a similar diary that contains the culture of their respective routes. We hope this will give FNGs a chance to learn how each route finds “the path home” and the reason we use the phrase, “One Mission, Three Routes.”

Since our riders are our best recruiters, they continue to ask for advertisements to assist their efforts. Since newspaper and magazine advertising are beyond our budget, we created our own advertising poster so they can spread the RFTW story and leave posters at motorcycle dealerships, Legion/VFWs, and other service organizations. That project is also complete and the flier will be downloadable under the new FNG tab and the “About” tab. The poster is designed to be read quickly and encourages the reader to visit our website. Technical work on the website is underway for this project and should be ready for use in the coming week.

The annual RFTW all-routes reunion at Angel Fire was held over the Labor Day weekend. The weather was perfect through out the weekend and allowed for a mission complete at the Angel Fire Veterans Memorial. As you may know this is a working weekend with riders laying a record number of (581) memorial bricks by days end Saturday. The planning and coordination for this mission is amazing and congratulations to the vast number who participated and organized the weekend, an effort headed by Steve Berniklau.  Thanks to Alfredo Gomez for organizing visits to two Native American schools prior to visiting the Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Don’t forget the Kerrville, TX, all-routes reunion Sept. 21-22. For information logon to and this thread under the Announcements tab:

Sept. 21 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

“To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for and 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.”

Is it May yet?

Les “Easy” Williams
Run For The Wall Board of Directors