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President’s Message – September 2023

Run for the Wall

And just like that, here it is September already. Registration is NOW OPEN! Contrary to some rumors, registration fees are the same as last year. The BoD is doing everything we can to control costs. If you think about it, on a 10-day route, with registration at $45, that is $4.50 per day. We encourage early registration so that our State Coordinators have accurate numbers to work with when contracting for hotels, planning meals, etc.

Speaking of our State Coordinators, sometimes I don’t think they are given enough credit. I know that during my time as the DC/Arlington coordinator, my work was a continuous cycle year after year. Speaking with some of our other SCs, their work is the same. During my time on the CR staging team, I once counted that we stopped 49 times on our Mission across the country. That we were able to purchase gas, eat a meal, get off our bikes and stretch, have a place to sleep, was all because of our SCs. They do a magnificent job, and we owe them a huge thanks! The SC job is not easy, but all do it so well.

The wife and I were fortunate to be able to travel to New Mexico for the Angel Fire workday/reunion over the Labor Day weekend. Since we moved east back in 2014, it has been that long since we’ve been able to attend. It was so nice to see folks from all the routes in attendance. Since the Angel Fire gathering is mainly about assisting in maintaining the Vietnam Veterans memorial and laying memorial bricks, it was heartwarming to see RFTW riders and leadership taking personal time to perform this vital mission. We laid 526 memorial bricks this year. The participation of several younger children was especially memorable, as their parents and families teach them to honor our past; to remember those who served, many of whom paid the ultimate price. This type of activity is core to the RFTW mission and goals. The team that put the workday/reunion together did a magnificent job. My hat is off to one and all.

Speaking of reunions, the All Riders Reunion in Kerrville, TX is rapidly approaching.  This reunion has been going on for several years and is always well attended. I encourage you to attend if you have the time.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  They do know how to put on a reunion in Texas!!  Click here for more information.

Remember 2023 is the year of Back to Basics. If you are contemplating something, perhaps a fundraiser or using RFTW intellectual property in any form, please run it past your RC to ensure it meets the procedures and policies of RFTW. RFTW is about the Mission; everything else is secondary and the BoD is determined to get us Back to Basics. Yet we seem to be constantly finding misuse of our intellectual property in ways and manners inconsistent with our Mission. We intend to protect our Mission, our name, and the presentation of RFTW, but to do so, we need your help. Approvals for requests for use of our exact replica intellectual property range from the State Coordinator for items like flyers, posters, etc., advertising events that support RFTW; RCs may approve use of exact replica RFTW intellectual property on certain items. Items such as hats, shirts, etc., must be reviewed and approved by the President. Your RC has information on how to submit items for approval.

At the start of the year of Back to Basics, we incorporated mandatory procedures in the SOPs regarding the order of march for the Missing Man Formation (MMF). The MMF symbolizes the very core of our Mission, and the BoD believed it was important to ensure we present this formation consistently across all four routes.  Again, your RC has the details.

Cages that are used to support leadership teams will no longer be able to travel with the pack or with the team they support. This was a subject of considerable discussion during the July Face-to-Face meetings, and all agreed that the mix of motorcycles and cars was becoming a problem. If you are leading a team and you need support from a cage, you will need to ensure they do NOT ride near or among your team.

We are still receiving AARs from the last Run.  Thank you for taking the time to submit your thoughts and ideas.  There have been a couple of questions regarding how AARs are handled.  First, ALL AARs are read by the entire BoD, and are also presented to the RCs for their review and consideration.  Some who submit AARs are contacted, but most are not.  That doesn’t mean your voice isn’t heard.  It is.

But how about you? How are your preparations going? Are you exercising, hydrating? Is your motorcycle ready? How are your tires looking? Are you staying ready for May?

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?

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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