Howdy from Texas!
The SandBox Route is alive and moving forward! Following the resignation of Marcell “Senior” Miller, the RFTW Board of Directors has confirmed me as your SandBox Route Coordinator. Before proceeding here, I would like to express sincere gratitude to Senior and the SandBox Leadership team that planned and conducted the Recon Route and have gotten us to this point. Although there has been some flux in the path, I am very positive about where the SandBox Route is going and how we’re going to get there. With this newsletter, I intend to provide insight to where we are and what to expect as we proceed towards May.
Every new RC takes a critical look at how the last Route was organized and executed with an eye toward improved efficiency and effectiveness. For the SandBox Route, that means converting the experiences from the limited execution of the Recon to a full up Route intended to provide safe and successful passage for our riders. With the lessons learned from the Recon and the valuable experience of many that have made the other Routes so successful, we are moving forward to grow the SandBox Route at a sustainable pace without overwhelming our benefactors along the way during our first Run next May. Here I will address some topics about which many have been asking…
The Mission & The Objective
The fourfold Mission of Run For The Wall is the same for all four routes. As RC for the SandBox Route, I embrace that Mission and will work toward the execution of its tenants every day leading up to and throughout the Run itself. However, the SandBox Route also embraces a unique specified objective to reach out for and show support to our Middle East Conflict era veterans by developing and promoting a path to healing. Over the past 31 years RFTW has enjoyed great success on this Mission of support for Veterans and Families from all services and conflicts. Although the objective is clear, it is essential that we include ALL era veterans and supporters on the SandBox Route as we endeavor to pass the torch of service and support to those who will ultimately lead this entire Mission into the future. For that is also an objective of all the Routes – plan for and follow a path that will Continue the Mission beyond that time which those of us here now can see.
Growth of the Route
RFTW XXXI had the largest number of people ever registered for all three of the CA to DC routes. Some were concerned that our supporters would be overly burdened by those numbers, but would still do whatever was needed to provide for the Mission. Our supporters on the SandBox Recon got a taste of the task ahead with a small group and did a great job ensuring the Riders were given the provisions necessary to continue. Now it is time to grow, but we must do it in a way that ensures sustainable progress and a positive development toward the objective of reaching and supporting more of our recent era veterans. To support that future growth, the SandBox Route must not explode onto the scene with an overwhelming legion of riders. There is great interest and expectation for this Route and a great number of people wish to be a part of it. Unfortunately, just like on Recon we will not be able to bring along everyone who wants to participate this year. Please understand that none of us wants to keep anyone away – we ask that you keep in mind the Mission and the Objective and do what you can to support the long term success of both in whatever way you are able.
Recurring themes across the After Action Reports (AAR’s) from the Recon Route included issues concerning condition of the roadway, fuel stop pump availability, and restroom availability. There were other important issues, but these three are directly addressed by Route and Stop selection. Over this past weekend, our Road Guard Captain, Don “10-A-See” King rode from DC to Marseilles, Illinois in search of a more suitable route and fuel/rest stops with the capacity to accommodate our passage. His preliminary report is that the trip was a great success as he also met with many of our State Coordinators along the way to solidify expectations for further support and coordination. I look forward to receiving his full report very soon as we continue to plan the route ahead.
As many of you have already seen, Registration for the SandBox Route is closed having reached current available capacity as noted above. As our Route and Supporter capacity becomes firm, we may be able to open registration for a limited number of additional riders. Should that happen, an announcement will be made well in advance with a specified date and time for registration opening and it will close again after the new capacity is reached.
Also, I have been contacted by several people who mentioned that they were registered for SandBox who are not showing on the list. Please review your confirmation e-mail under the “Ride-to” section and look for “Marseilles – MUST Pay Now”. If it says anything else, you are not registered for SandBox Route.
Our RFTW Family is made up of the most caring and patriotic people you could possibly imagine. Your continuing dedication to the Mission has been unwavering for over 31 years and has only grown stronger since the start. Your acceptance and support for the addition of the SandBox Route proves that the Mission is timeless, and that we are preparing a path to long term continued success. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they will serve in whatever capacity they are needed. As we work toward a sustainable incremental growth of this new Route, the service needed from many people will be that of enthusiastic supporter. Ray “Ghost Rider” Wyatt’s Southern Route RC motto from 2017 is particularly fitting here: “Mission > Self”. In whatever capacity you serve the Mission, you will be part of it, and we need the entire Family to come together if we are to successfully reach and support the people who need it the most.
WALL – to – WALL!
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
SandBox Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII