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Board of Directors Openings

The RFTW Board of Directors is soliciting applications from riders interested in serving on the Board. There will be three (3) vacancies on July 1st, 2020 due to term limits.  The positions being vacated are Treasurer, Director of Merchandise, and Director of Operations & Training.  Because sitting members have the option of moving into vacant seats, these may not be the same positions being filled.

Anyone is eligible to apply, but it should be understood that the Board places a high priority on experience and past service to the Run in leadership and service positions when evaluating candidates.

If you would like to apply for a position on the Board of Directors, please submit a resume with an overview of your work history and a detailed recounting of your RFTW experience, including your FNG year, the number of times you’ve ridden with RFTW (both as a Participant and ATW), which route(s) you’ve ridden, and what leadership or service positions you’ve held.  We also ask that you submit a short cover letter explaining why you wish to join the Board.  Please send these to dave.klemme@rftw.us by March 31st, 2020.

We hope to hear from you. Remember… decisions are made by those who step up.

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Your Name Here
Open Positions
RFTW is looking for a few good people to fill expiring terms. If interested, please submit your resume to one of the current board members.

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter – Feb 2020

Greetings RFTW Midway Family!

The excitement for RFTW XXXII continues to grow as we get closer to our departure to Ontario.  I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting all the FNGs!  I just returned from the Board of Directors meeting in Dallas.  RFTW is in good hands and all routes are progressing well with their preparations for this year’s Run.  Our Midway Route is dealing with some last-minute changes.  I regret to inform everyone, due to a change in command and security concerns, we will not be able to go to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.  With that said, our day 9 will be changing.  Good news is that we have another great day planned.  We will be joining AMVETS “Remembering on the River” event at River Falls Park in Weldon, NC.  Our North Carolina State Coordinators and our Road Guard Captain are working hard on the plans to adjust to this change.  It is possible that 2019 may be the one and only time any group will have had the honor and privilege to ride our motorcycles down the active runway of an Air Force base.  With that said, I have been asked about the SJ Air Force Base patches.  I had stopped selling that patch for fundraising.  However, with this turn of events and the fact that it may never happen again, I will place another order for the patches if anyone is interested in purchasing one to remember this awesome experience.  They are $25.00 and the profits go to our fuel.  You can get the ordering details on my previous newsletters on the Midway Hub on the RFTW.US website. (it is also the same as the hotel raffle tickets below)

Speaking of fundraisers, remember that the end of February is the deadline for getting your free hotel raffle tickets (up to 5 for early purchasing) when you purchase your tickets.  The prize is $1,000 for your hotel costs.  As of right now, if you purchased tickets, you have great odds of winning.  Currently, you are 1 of only 15 people to enter for this chance to win $1000! I don’t know of any other opportunity to win $1000 with those odds!  I encourage others to purchase your hotel raffle tickets for your chance to win!   Remember, all profits from this come back to our route in paid fuel.

The cost per ticket is $10.00 or you can purchase 10 tickets for $50.00!  If you purchase $100.00 worth, you will get 25 tickets.    If you purchase 10 tickets or more before the end of February, you will receive 2 extra ticket (per 10) for free.  The tickets will be capped at 30 per person.  If you would like to purchase the Hotel raffle tickets, please make check out to RFTW and send to:
Ken Dugas
9849 Loblolly Pines Lane
Denham Springs, La. 70726
You may also electronically send the money through Zelle.  Use my phone 225-405-2735.  Please send me an email at ken.dugas@rftw.us to let me know if you are sending money.

Make sure you and your bike are prepared for this cross-country journey.  It is not too early to start preparing.  Remember, the better prepared you are, the safer your journey can be.  I am feeling the torture of starting to exercising again. Just remember, no pain no gain! Ha Ha!

If you would like to be notified of these RFTW updates, please make sure that you sign up to receive email alerts.  Go to the bottom right corner on rftw.us and enter your email.  I will no longer be sending my updates via direct email.  They will be posted on the website and then you will receive an email notice if you have signed up for it.

Have I told you lately…………….. I love my RFTW Midway Family!  😊

Honor, Hope & Healing

Respectfully,

Ken “Six String” Dugas

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Kevin “SPEEDBUMP” Bowman

Name: Kevin Bowman

Road Name: Speed Bump

FNG Year: 2016

How many All the Way/Participant? 4

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? My favorite memory… wow…My favorite memory would have to be how I have come to know so many of the RFTW participants! My FNG years was a very tough year. My buddy Edwin and I both went down in an accident just outside of Topeka KS. We licked our wounds for a couple days trying to sort out our bikes. Once we figured out a plan for the Bikes, we rented a car and drove almost 24 hours straight to catch up with the Pack. It was very important to Edwin and I to continue the Mission! We caught up with the Pack and ran ahead to watch everyone come into Rainelle WV to the School. The warm welcome and the amazement that we got from everyone in our Platoon was overwhelming! I was right then and there, given a Patch with my road name on it…. Speed Bump!! I couldn’t believe they had already had a patch made! Edwin and I followed the Pack the remaining 2 days of the Run, on into Washington DC! What was even more amazing is on Saturday Morning, Terry and Christy Ray (Some VERY Amazing People in the Trike Platoon) had found a couple of Trike Riders that were willing to let Edwin and I ride as Co-Riders into Arlington for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. So, Edwin and I both were able to COMPLETE THE MISSION!!!

The patch!!!!
Kevin and Edwin with Tigger After Catching up with the pack

Positions held as a volunteer on the Run? Assistant Platoon Leader 2019, Platoon Leader for 2020

Military Background if any or relationships with Military? I was not in the Military. My Father in Law was/is a Retired Senior Master Sargent in the Air Force…. I worked at Sheppard Air Force Base from 1977 until 1989 and then moved to Arizona in January 1990 and worked at Williams Air Force Base from Jan 1990 until October 1991. Government shut the best weather Flight Training Base in the country down for budget cuts. I got to work with some incredible retired Air Force Aircraft Mechanics for 14 years!! I was a T37 and T38 Aircraft Mechanic for 9 of these years and I was an Instrument Flight Training Instructor for 5 years in the T38. So, I wasn’t IN the Military but man did I get to hang out with some GREAT folks!!

Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No

What got you to do the RFTW the first time? My buddy Edwin Musto from New Zealand is the guy that told me about RFTW. Edwin called one day in 2015 and said he was going to come to the US to ride in RFTW. That is how I found out about it! I did some research and WOW!!! I was IN!!

Kevin and Edwin

What brought you back? It gets in your BLOOD!

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? NO

Are you planning on Rolling to Remember (AMVETS Replacement for Rolling Thunder)? No doing Sandbox Route

Brief Synopsis of “WHY YOU RIDE” See Military Background above…I was not in the Military, but I was a snot nose 18 year old kid that got hired right out of High School to work at Sheppard Air Force Base. ALL of the guys I worked with back in 1977 were from either the Korean War or Vietnam War. Lots of these guys had seen it ALL and DONE it ALL. I loved all of the guys SO much as they taught me the value of Brotherhood, Teamwork and Friendship. I listened to their stories over and over again throughout my young adult life even though I may have heard the story 10 times before. I ride to honor all of these guys that touched my life. I was a very fortunate teenager, I had about 25 Father Figures over the 14 years at Sheppard Air Force Base!

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Todd “Killswitch” or “Slow Ride” Miller

Name: Todd Miller

Road Name: Killswitch, Slow-Ride

FNG Year: 2013

How many times have you been All the Way? None yet, I usually follow the pack from Colorado Springs and sign on in Goodland, KS. In 2017 I rode to Eagle’s Nest to join the pack. And how many times have you been a Participant? 4 (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Central Route all four times.

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? Meeting Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient, in Goodland, KS. Also earning my road name got me to meet the team at Manowar HD who recharged my battery and got me back on the road in about an hour.

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Staging Team 2015 and 2016.

A shot by a member of the Staging Team somewhere in West Virginia I think.
An Article in the Mountaineer, the Fort Carson newspaper about my ride in 2017. Photo from Robley Rex back parking lot.

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? I am currently Active Army at Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart, Germany.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No.

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? I had been a member of Rolling Thunder in Ohio years earlier and had sold my bike to help buy a house. When I got to where I could buy another Harley in 2012, I thought, “I wonder if anyone rides to DC from this far away?”. Then I found RFTW.

What brought you back? The experience. There is nothing like the Run. It is long and exhausting, but every morning I woke up and wanted more. It will restore your belief in the patriotism of the people of this nation when you see all the support along the way.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? Yes, first in 2003.

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember? I don’t stick around DC for Rolling Thunder ride anymore, so probably not. I get on the road to Ohio to see my grandson by Saturday afternoon anymore.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” My father, a Viet Nam Veteran made it back seemingly unscathed. He was there in 1968 when I was born. He never discussed what he did over there, but it bothered him a lot. When I was 19 years old, my father shot himself. That was hard to deal with for a lot of years. I attribute his suicide to demons I only learned of after his death, but I will never know why he actually did it. He is the main reason I ride, but also for my grandfather (WWII) and my great grandfather (WWI). 

Anything else to Add?  You may remember me as the guy who flew from Korea to do the Run for 2 years in a row in 2015 and 2016. 2018 and 2019 were prevented by a trip to Afghanistan. I am planning to take leave from Germany for the Run in 2021. I should make a patch for that!

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Rupert “Preacher” Harrell

Name:  Rupert Harrell

Road Name:  Preacher

FNG Year  2014

How many All the Way/Participant? 5

 Which Route (Routes)?   Central

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?  FNG year riding into Arlington National Cemetery as a Chaplain then helping veterans at the Wall.

Positions held as a volunteer on the Run?  Chaplain

Military Background if any or relationships with Military? Yes Army and family members that have served

Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Yes Uncle in Korea and Cousin in Viet Nam

What got you to do the RFTW the first time?  Chaplain Duane Gryder had been after me for sometime and I was always ministering on Memorial Day in uniform and one year I didn’t have a service and did the ride.

What brought you back?   The camaraderie and being able to minister to veterans of all wars since I have family that has fought in all wars.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder?  No

Are you planning on Rolling to Remember (AMVETS Replacement for Rolling Thunder)?  No

Brief Synopsis of “WHY YOU RIDE”  I ride because I love veterans, active duty and love ministering to them because I’ve been where they have been plus I’m the son, grandson, nephew, Dad, uncle and brother-in-law of veterans.

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Jim “JOURNEY” Dalton

Name: Jim Dalton

Road Name: Journey

FNG Year: 2019

How many times have you been All the Way?  Once, but this year its All the Way + Sandbox.       And how many times have you been a Participant? 0

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Southern Route

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? There are so many…. In 2019 I was an FNG and in Ontario I met Pam Cain. I learned about the tradition of carrying a picture and bio of a service member to the wall. I was honored to carry her father all the way, Col. Oscar Mauterer, MIA 15/2/66 Laos. Then there was the chance meeting at a lunch stop in Texas where I met Sgt. James Yettman. We started talking in the parking lot shortly after we pulled in. He told me of his support for the mission and how he and his wife come out to see us every year. He follows us on-line and tracks our progress and knows our traditions. After quite a while of visiting the Sergeant asked me if I would do him a service, He had always wanted to go to the wall and pay his respects. He knows a lot of the names on that stone. But he’s getting on in years and his health aint the best these days. He asked if I would carry his picture to the wall as a way of being with his friends. Well of course I said yes. There’s room for two pictures on my windscreen.

Sgt James Yettman

The day of the walk to the wall….wow. I met Pam at panel 5E. I touched her father’s name on line 38…. We place his picture at the base of the wall. We cried, we hugged, we cried some more. Once we had collected ourselves and dried our eyes, we smiled and propped each other up. I had made it, all the way and here I was at the wall. I was no longer an FNG. It was time for Pam to turn my pin upside down….. more tears, more hugs, you know the story. But my mission wasn’t complete. I walked around to the far side of the grass in front of the wall and found a spot with a perfect, unobstructed view that looks out across the entire wall. There on the chain that hangs from post to post and runs along the grass edge, I hung Sgt. Yettman’s picture, facing the wall.

There were many other moments along the way. Like when a member of leadership mopped me up when the two Brownies turned me into a puddle. Going with Gump on an outreach and participating in the Honor Guard at a wreath laying ceremony. And more.


Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Not yet but this year; Fuel Team – Sandbox!

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? Senior Systems Engineer – DoD –

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? When I heard about the run I went to the website. The messaging there was all I needed to know I had to go.

What brought you back? The people. The experience. The mission.

 Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? No

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No – Sandbox

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” I have so much respect for those who have served in uniform. Every day I go to work to do my part in maintaining our military supremacy. To build the latest technology for the war fighter. That said, I feel like family with the whole RFTW group. Though like many families we may differ on politics or religion and such, we share more important things. A sense of duty, honor and a love for our country.

I believe in the RFTW mission. I ride for those that can’t.

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Jim “Stoney” Stone

Name: Jim Stone             

Road Name: Stoney

FNG Year: 2007

How many times have you been All the Way? 7         

And how many times have you been a Participant? 3

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Southern

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?

So many memories… 5 May 2009 flying from London to DFW I met a Flight Attendant whose brother went down 3 December 1969…. 10 May 2009 I met a Road Guard named Baron, the pilot who took Marty’s place on 4 December 1969…   Leading RFTW XXVII Southern Route and laying the Wreath at The Tomb are two of the great privileges of my life and things I shall NEVER forget

Touching Marty, RFTW XXV

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  If you have, which Positions have you held?  Road Guard, 2009 – 2014,2016 and 2020; ARC 2014 and RC 2015

The best job on the Run…Road Guard!

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military?  Navy Vet, son of a Marine (Mom) and an Army FO (Dad) Vets

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time?  Rolling Thunder XX

What brought you back?  The people and The Mission

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? 2007 and again in 2009 with my Wife and Daughter.

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.”

In April 1975 I participated with HC-1 Det 2, on board USS Midway, in Operation Frequent Wind and I have always felt we did not get all the right people out.  My first trip to The Wall was in 2000.  I bought a bracelet for Robert Alan Clark of VA-115, shot down off Midway on 10 January, 1973. 

In 2005 I was in DC and ran into a bunch of gray-haired bikers participating in Rolling Thunder, ‘A demonstration for the MIA’s…’  I bought my first Harley in 2006 with the intent of participating in RT XX with some friends from Kalifornia.  When they could not ride in 2007, I searched the Internet and found RFTW.  I sent a note to Tadpole on his day one and he asked me to meet him in Weatherford, TX… since 2007 I have only missed The Run because of Back Surgery, an unfortunate mounting mistake enroute to RFTW XXX and my daughter’s wedding in 2019!

I have ridden each year for the Vets I have met around the world who could not participate and those who are still not home.

I ride to Continue The Mission.

Charlie Mike

Stoney

RFTW XXVII Southern Route Alabama
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Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Name: Kristine Wood

Road Name: Eyes

FNG Year: 2014

How many times have you been All the Way?     7 years

And how many times have you been a Participant? All the way baby!

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Southern Route

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? Do I have to choose just one? It would have to be my FNG year when Gump stood up to share his story. He told this group in front of him, hundreds of Vietnam veterans, “the reason we did not leave any behind in Iraq, was because of the lessons learned in Vietnam”. You should have seen the look on these seasoned veterans faces. This young repatriated POW telling these veterans, that they changed the course of future conflicts. It was powerful!

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  If you have, which Positions have you held? 50/50 rouser, tail gunner, assistant platoon leader, platoon leader, sit-rep writer and assistant route coordinator

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? I have not personally served. My father was a World War II and Korea veteran, my brother-in-law is a Vietnam Veteran, brother was in the Air Force. I have had a relative fight in every conflict this country has ever been involved in, beginning with the revolution up to today.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Yes, blue star.

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? The opportunity to honor and serve America’s veterans.

What brought you back? The opportunity to honor and serve America’s veterans.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? Yes

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? Not sure

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” 

I ride because my father a World War II veteran drank himself to death. He did not face the demons of PTSD and deal with his grief and loss. My brother-in-law a Vietnam Veteran is currently battling cancer from agent orange. My son-in-law served in Afghanistan as a corpsman and saw his best friend’s legs blown off from an IED. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to these veterans and thousands of others. If by being on the run, I can help ease a Veteran’s pain and help them to heal, then I will be on the run as long as I am able.

Any favorite photos you’d like to share?  Anything else to Add? I published the book Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial www.rftwthebook.com . The book contains 300 of my favorite photos, capturing the essence of the run and why riders return year after year.

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Greg “r0de_runr” Noller

Name: Gregory Noller

Road Name: r0de_runr

FNG Year: 2018

How many times have you been All the Way?  2018, upcoming 2020 w/Sandbox.

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? ATW Midway in 2018, 2 days on Southern in 2019 and upcoming ATW SR 2020.

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?  Being asked to fall in as a Tailgunner when my Platoon Leader needed a fill in, then that becoming an ATW event when another Tailgunner got promoted to Platoon Leader. As an FNG it was truly an honor to be asked and a special memory of successful completion.

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Tailgunner 3rd Plt then 6th Plt SR 2018.

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? Retired US Army, 1971-1996. Father of an Afghanistan Vet OEF RCP 44 2012-2013 FOB Airborne.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Blue Star, Son-In-Law in the Air Force; Don’t know what Star color for Dad of a Combat Veteran Suicide.

Scott Noller

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? My local Combat Vets Motorcycle Association (CVMA) Det Commander (SAPPER) was a 10-year veteran of the Run, and offered to help me do my first Run. I had just lost my (veteran, police officer) son to suicide just weeks before, and my former spouse was dying of brain cancer. I had somewhat always struggled with survivor guilt after 25 years in the Army and never being shot at. My hometown high school lost three young men in Vietnam.  My brother served in Vietnam in the 196th LIB, my other brother served in Thailand during that war. I wanted to do something memorable for my son, so I decided to build a small memorial tribute and carry it from Texas to Ontario and on to Washington to place it at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Most of the nearly 2000 participants in 2018 didn’t realize they were escorting my memorial cross-country to honor my son.


What brought you back? I wanted to do it again so in 2019 I rode with Sapper just from Dallas to Meridian on the SR.  This year I want to ride ATW and include the Sandbox Route again to honor my son’s participation in that conflict.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? I have sat on the sidelines twice and watched (from the bridge between Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial).

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No, doing Sandbox.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.”

I ride for my Uncle Fred Noller who died on Okinawa just 5 months before the end of WWII; I ride for the three young men who went to my high school and died in Vietnam: Jim Nufer, Richard Conrardy, and Gregg Steimel; I ride for my two brothers who fought in that war and came home: Gary and Larry Noller; I ride for all the men and women who are missing or died in all of our wars; but mostly I ride for my son Scott, who can’t.

Anything else to Add?   “Stop Veteran Suicide – 22 A Day Too Many https://youtu.be/rdTurNfZcQE

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Marvin “Emtee” Potts

Name: Marvin Potts

Road Name: Emtee

FNG Year: 2013

How many times have you been All the Way?  2017, 2018 (aborted)   And how many times have you been a Participant? 2013, 2016, 2019

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Central

 What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?

It was my FNG year and I had joined up in Corydon IN. Our first stop was Robley Rex VA Center. As I walked in to meet patients I am greeted by a worker who asks me if I would come with her to see a patient on the oncology floor. She takes me, alone, to the elevator which we take to the top floor. She explained to me there was a particular patient who requested a visit from one of “the bikers.” I’m nervous. I’m on my first stop … only 30 miles into my FNG run. I walk into the room to see a pale, thin, bed-ridden cancer patient. I put a smile on my face and introduce myself to the man who will forever define the RFTW mission for me. My first words to him were a mindless “How ya doing?” but his reply took my breath away. He said, “Not good partner. The doc just told me my time is measured in days.” 

I spent the next 30-40 minutes talking to him about his time in Vietnam, the struggles he had upon returning, and all the Harleys he had owned over the years. He then told me I better get going or I might get left behind. In all honesty, I didn’t care. I thought about “tapping out” then and there and continue visiting with him. But then he asked if I would ride for him and remember him when I got to The Wall. I told him it would be my honor. As I walked out of the room he had one more request … to rev my bike so he could hear it all the way up there.

About a week after completing my FNG run, I received a call from his cousin … he had passed. His cousin told me that he constantly talked about all the bikes rolling in and the “young man” who graciously spent time with him that day. He told me that as we left that day, he heard someone rev their bike and he knew that had to be Emtee.

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Tailgunner

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? I’m not a veteran but I am a 30 yr Air Force civilian and the father of two Army soldiers.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Blue Star x 2.

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? I was introduced to RFTW in 2012 after a PGR mission by Ken “Catfish” Ward. (Never underestimate the power of your representation of RFTW!) My oldest son earned a Purple Heart in Afghanistan and I wanted to honor his service. Also, a small town near home has the distinction of having the highest per capita Vietnam War casualty rate (Beallsville Ohio). Those 6 along with the other 5 from my area are known as the 11 Sons of Monroe County. I ride for them.

What brought you back? I only rode 3 days that first year but the impact was deep and everlasting.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No, doing Sandbox.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE”.

I ride for the vet at Robley Rex (name withheld). I ride for the 11 Sons of Monroe Co. I ride to honor my sons. I ride for and with my best friend, Dave Cain. I ride for those who can’t.

Anything else to Add?

My Facebook RFTW page is “20 Days in May”