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Run for the Wall Rider Survey

RFTW Rider Survey

We need your input!

Your opinion matters! Please take a moment to help us shape the future of the run by participating in a very short, 11-question survey.

As a perk, we will be drawing three names at random from the survey respondents. The lucky three will each receive a $50 digital coupon code that can be used at the RFTW.US online store. Of course if you wish to remain anonymous that is also an option, but you won’t be entered in the drawing.

Hurry, we will close the survey on 31 August, 2022.

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Southern Route Coordinator – August Newsletter

In the heat of the night, many thoughts come to mind. Last night, for me it was what to share with Southern Route riders in this newsletter, and so let us begin.

The Southern Route spends ten days riding from California to Washington DC. We pass through; Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and let’s not forget the dip into Georgia. The Southern Route is known for its warm weather. If you like warm weather riding, this is the route for you.  As we travel through these ten states, it is a time for personal reflection and a time to REMEMBER THE MISSION (Romeo Tango Mike) and why we ride.

One of many Welcome Home Events


The first Run for the Wall left San Diego in 1989, to raise awareness for those left behind in Vietnam. The mission has not changed!

“Currently, there are nearly 1,600 Americans still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, hundreds are believed to be in a “non-recoverable” category, meaning after rigorous investigation DPAA has determined that the individual perished but does not believe it is possible to recover the remains. On rare occasions, new leads can bring a case back to active status. We ride for these 1,600 Americans.”

“At present, more than 81,500 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the more than 81,500 missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea, many presumed to be “non-recoverable”.

Current POW/MIA Information 

We ride for these 81,500 Americans

The logistical planning for 2023 is in full swing and WE NEED YOU!!! If you have not filled out a volunteer form, letting us know you will be riding in 2023, we need you to do that. If you do not fill out the volunteer form, we might think you’re sitting this year out and not riding. Click on the link below to access the volunteer form. Please volunteer today.

Southern Route – Volunteer Form

Stonewall

It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Southern Route Assistant Route Coordinator, Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan. I am so grateful she has agreed to serve as the 2023 ARC. Stonewall first joined the run with her husband Roger E. Phelan in 2009 as a participant. Michelle has this to say about her and Roger’s first year on the run.

“My husband, Major Roger E. Phelan, Jr. served in the USAF from 1970 – 1997. He flew C-130-H in Vietnam, Gulf War, Grenada, Panama and other theaters. His Welcome Home experience left him feeling that his military service did not matter. On May 13, 2009, Roger left Rancho Cucamonga on the Southern Route, Day 1 of All The Way. Meeting him on Day 5, I received back to me a career pilot who understood that his service to his country did matter to thousands of people he just hadn’t met prior to the run.

And this was important. In 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007 Roger was diagnosed with 4 different cancers due to his extensive Agent Orange exposure. He received treatment from 2001 until his death on February 7, 2010. His exposure to a grateful nation, while on the Run provided a foundation that allowed him to conclude his career mattered.”

 Stonewall has worn many hats on the run. Her favorite being the red hat of a Road Guard, where she has been riding every year since 2013. She has also worn the hat of the medical team and merchandise team 2010 – 2012.

It’s going to be a great Run, but not without you!

 Believe it or not, it’s almost time to register for 2023. Registration will go live on September 11, 2022 at 8:45 am EST. Please register early, it helps tremendously with our ability to plan, and to make leadership assignments. We are looking forward to the Texas Rider’s Reunion and visiting with many RFTW family members in September.

Until then…

ROMEO TANGO MIKE

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Southern Route Coordinator

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Two Months Later:  WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT?

 

The last time you heard from me was the day AFTER the Midway Route completed our annual Mission.  At that time, I promised you a “wrap up” of all our “adventures.”  But then I got very sick.  In fact, I contracted Covid!  I rested in DC for two days before riding to Cookeville, where I rested another two days.  At that point, I knew that I could not ride any more, so I called out for help.  The last 500 miles of my trip home were a blur, as I sat in the back seat of my truck while trailering my motorcycle back home.  It would be almost three more weeks before I felt “normal” again.

And then ”life” resumed.  There were church obligations, client work, photos to edit, family visits, and just general “stuff” that makes life worthwhile.  And I never got around to writing that “wrap up.”

Well today, I am sitting in my living room with my little boy puppy at my side.  My wife is on the other couch with our little girl puppy.  We have just finished going through the thousands of photos that I took during Run For The Wall, and I have been telling all sorts of stories and anecdotes from our Mission.  And it made me wonder: What was it all about?

WE all know our Mission Statement, and it condenses to “We ride for those that can’t.”  To this end, RFTW has created FOUR Routes: three of which are primarily for our Vietnam Veterans and Families, and the newest route, The SandBox, which is aimed to wards our newest Veterans.  Our goal with each of these Routes is to provide emotional healing for the Veterans, Family Members, Patriots, and Participants of Run For The Wall, along with all of the thousands of public that we encounter each and every day.

And the Midway Route did this so well in 2022!

This was not an easy year for the Midway Route.  With our two-year hiatus, we lost several key and crucial contacts with our supporters.  We had to reestablish these connections “on the fly.”  Our State and Local coordinators did not let us down!  They stood up, did the extra last-minute work, and made our presence in the communities something that BOTH sides could be proud of.

We had to prove (again) to Law Enforcement Agencies across the Nation that we DO know what we are doing, and that we can do it safely.  Thanks to our Road Guard Captain and his incredible Team, our reputation is not just “intact” but has been bolstered to the point of professionalism.  Our relationship with some of these agencies has even become that of “friends.”  (When the Sergeant of the North Carolina State Police asks me to “Ride really fast and catch up” so I can get a specific picture of their escort, you know that we are more than just a business relationship!)

Our fund-raising committees did an absolutely AMAZING job of supporting us.  Each Rider’s out-of-pocket expense during the Run was so minimal as to almost be negligible.  I don’t know how they did it, but it was REALLY appreciated.  Especially when you consider what happened to prices (for everything!) right before we started riding.  Not only were most costs covered for the Riders, but we were still able to give out scholarships at two schools and help some of our local supporters cover THEIR costs.  We had 50/50 raffles everyday with some pretty good payouts!  We had so many raffle items donated that almost every Rider could have gone home with “something.”  You guys did an awesome job!

Our Outreach Coordinator did several wonderful jobs, most of which our Riders know nothing, or very little, about.  The most obvious was the daily reading of a lost Heroes biography.  These aren’t just random names that are chosen, but each one has been researched and “prioritized” as to when and where they will have the most emotional impact when read.  (They ALL have importance, but some have direct connections with what we are doing each day.)  The other more visible “jobs” were the “dignified transfer ceremony” for a flag that was carried across our country by volunteer Riders.  Four times each day, this “simple” ceremony was conducted with reverence and solemnity.  I was able to witness several of these events, and I could feel the respect and honor of each participant.  You could see it in their eyes!

These flag transfers took place at the Missing Man Formation as often as possible.  Our Missing Man Coordinator was doing double duty this year.  Not only was she organizing the Riders so that EVERY leg of the Mission had a Missing Man Escort, but she was also in charge of our special Missing Man Biography Banner.  This banner is laid on the ground in the position of the Missing Man.  It has a sleeve where the Escort Rider may put a biography, photo, name, or small memento so that everyone that walked by would know WHO our honored Missing Man is.  That Honoree’s name would also be written in chalk on the road, so that for weeks after we had departed, people could still “read a name.”  Hopefully, that name will make them stop and ask questions.

Our Fuel Team and Advance Team are true unsung and seemingly “invisible” heroes!  They are always out in front of the pack, and they are always working when we arrive.  They eat fast and leave before everyone else.  They are like “ghosts.”  But because they do not ride WITH the pack, they often do not get to see and enjoy the “parade” we present when we arrive in a town.  Instead, they are often the ones that are welcoming US, even while they are working.  Only a couple of times during our Mission were they “with us” as we arrived.  I just hope that they all know how much we truly appreciate all of their hard work!

There is a Finance Team that pays for the fuel, a Logistics Coordinator that makes sure all of our awards of Thanks for our supporters is on hand, an Honor Guard Coordinator, a Platoon Coordinator, a Merchandising Team, a Registration Team, and our Ambassadors.  There are so MANY people that make this Mission possible that I just can’t name them all.

This year, our Chaplains and Medical Corps got a real workout.  We can all see the “physical presence” of these two teams.  They were there keeping a watchful eye over us, even when we don’t think they were watching!  In addition to their daily care, keeping us spiritually fit and physically hydrated, they were on standby for any emergency.  And on one day, they had to work overtime.  While no RFTW Participant was hurt during our Mission this year, we WERE witness to a devastating event in Arkansas.  One of our local supporters had a sudden cardiac arrest right after we were served lunch.  Our Chief Medic (“Chief”) was there in a split second to start administering CPR, while our Chaplains began comforting the Riders that witnessed this event.  Their professionalism was surpassed only by their compassion.  Everything was handled with care and concern for ALL of the people there.  Having survived a cardiac arrest myself, I can only thank our Chaplains and Medics for the way that they handled not only their patient, but our Riders and supporters.  God held their hands, while they held ours.

And then there were the Riders themselves.  We had everything from our seasoned RFTW veteran Riders, to some brand new FNGs!  And a couple of these Riders were TRULY brand new, having only ridden motorcycles for a few months prior to our Mission.  (They did fantastic!)  We had a couple of Gentlemen join us from Canada, where they have their own cross-country Mission called the “Rolling Barrage.”  I saw so many smiling faces from our Riders each morning that I was SURE would fade before lunch time.  Boy, was I wrong!  Those smiles only got bigger as the day progressed.  A few of our Riders weren’t too keen on being hugged so much on Day One.  By Day 10, they were leading the “Hug Brigade!”  I saw rider skills develop at an incredibly fast pace, even for our Road Guards.  (And Man, can they RIDE!)  Our Midway Route Riders carried themselves with dignity and respect at all times, and showed honor everywhere they went.  I was SO proud of them, and honored that they would let me walk among them.

As you can tell, there were a LOT of things going on during our “ten day Mission.”

The responsibility and accountability for all of this rested squarely on the shoulders of our Route Coordinator.  Ken “Six String” Dugas not only stepped up and volunteered for this role, he excelled at it.  Because of his Leadership, Role-Model, and Friendship, the 2022 RFTW Midway Route Mission was a total success!  He was able to “adapt and overcome” each obstacle with grace, style, and a little humor.  He made all of the hard work look effortless.  Thank You, Six String, for ALL that you have done!

I have been a part of Run For The Wall for eight years now.  I have enjoyed (almost) every minute of that time, and look forward to many more years of service, in whatever role that I am needed or wanted.  I know that my association with RFTW has made me a better Man and Patriot.  So I urge each and every one of YOU to volunteer, even if you don’t think you have the skills needed.  We can find a place for you, just like they found a place for me.  You won’t regret it, as the benefits and honor far out way the hard work.

And NOW, with that very lengthy “wrap up” of our 2022 Mission, I have to get back to my original question: WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT?

And THAT is the million dollar question, because the answer lies within YOU.  I know what we say we are going to do, and we did it.  But that was for ten days.  There are a lot more days during the year that are unaccounted for!  It is my hope that each of you will carry on with the RFTW “spirit.”

Spend some time each day giving honor and respect to our Veterans.  It isn’t hard.  Start by saying “Thanks for your Service” to that old guy with the Veterans cap on.  Do the same thing for our Police and Fire Fighters!

Stand up whenever you hear our National Anthem, and say the Pledge of Allegiance!  Place your hand over your heart or give a hand salute, whichever is appropriate for you.  Do this in public!  And take the time to explain WHY you are doing this to those that don’t understand, especially the young children.  Do your part to educate our next generation of Patriots.  You have heard me say it before and I repeat it now: I don’t like kids.  But I WILL do what I can to help them learn about the sacrifices that our Veterans and their Families have made for our Freedom.

Take the time to replace a tattered American Flag that you may see flying somewhere.  I know several people that keep a “spare” flag with them at all times.  I have NEVER known one of them to be turned down when they explain that they would like to replace and retire a worn out flag.

Go visit a Veterans Home or hospital.  Shake the hand of a hero, and listen to his stories.  Learn from him, about the cost of Freedom.

Fly and display a POW-MIA flag!  JUST DO IT!  Tell everyone that you meet about our Missing in Action.  Let them know that for every one of them, there is a Mother and Father that want them to come home.  There are brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grand-parents, and friends that wonder “what happened?”  And when you meet a Wife or child of one of our MIA, give them a hug and let them know that their loved one is NOT forgotten.

Wear a POW-MIA bracelet.  Show it and explain it to EVERYONE!  Don’t even take it off to go through an airport x-ray machine.  (Except under extreme protest!)  Use that bracelet to make people think about our POWs.

These are all things that we do as part of Run For The Wall during our ten-day Mission.

THAT IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!

It has been my extreme honor to chronicle YOUR Midway Route experience.  I hope that through my photos and poor attempt at writing that I have been able to convey the stories and events that you would want people to know.  Your faith and trust in me to do this is something that I think about all the time.  I have tried to keep that faith and trust, and to honor YOU the way that you have honored ME.

Cheers!

Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
Photographer and SITREP Author
Midway Route 2022

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Camp Pendleton Annual Beach Bash

MCCS Camp Pendleton

Alert! Alert!

Run for the Wall has a Booth (POP-UP) at the Annual Beach Bash yearly party on 12 August for the Marine Corps’, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion (3rdTracks) Camp Pendleton, CA. We will be handing out RFTW Pins, RFTW Cards, water and Gatorade to the troops and their families. Come visit and mingle and watch the events for the Marines, Sailors and their families. The event is held on Camp Pendleton, Del Mar Beach from 11AM till 3PM on 12 August dress is beach wear or casual.

If you would like to attend and help represent RFTW do the following:

  1. Email (carollomstead@ymail.com) or call Carol at (805) 368-7586
  2. Your Name
  3. Driver’s License Number
  4. DL Expiration Date
  5. Date of Birth

If you are a retired Veteran with an ID Card, she just would like to have your Name to provide the Main Gate to associate you with the RFTW support group. Access for the event will be the Main Gate at Camp Pendleton they can provide directions to Del Mar Beach.

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President’s Message August 2022

President's Message

Good Morning to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee!

The RFTW mission continues everyday, as each of us, are given the opportunity to bring awareness and a helping hand to our veterans and their families to include Gold and Blue Stars.  On July 9, 2022, ‘Homes For Our Troops’ presented Lance Corporal (L/Cpl.) Kevin Honaker, USMC (Ret.) with the keys to his brand new home in Sparta, Tennessee. We had a large RFTW presence at this event, where we met L/Cpl. Honaker and escorted him to his new home for a “Key Ceremony”.   A big thanks goes out to all those that participated!

August is here and ride XXXIII, 2023 is approaching.

I look forward to seeing you in 2023.  I would like to thank each of you that took your valuable time to provide an After Action Review (AAR) for 2022.  Your comments and recommendations on how to improve and make the run better have been heard. Your leadership team is busy planning and coordinating 2023’s routes; fuel stops, host hotels, meals and events along the way.

There will be a new ‘How to Register’ and ‘How to Check-In’ section added to (RFTW.us) website.   Registration will open 11 SEP 2022 for the 2023 Run.  Register early!  The BoD continues to look for ways to streamline and improve cost effective ways of operating that will allow improved mission support.  Better and more timely communication is being accomplished through use of our website and through other methods.  Please, look often for new news as well as helpful tips regarding the 2023 RIDE. Sign-up for the automatic receipt of newsletters.

I would hope that each of you are practicing and preparing for 2023 now. I miss-stated in my last news letter, “CORRECTIONyou do not need your title at Check-in however you do need a current registration, Driver License w/motorcycle endorsement if state required and current insurance.

As you can tell the 2023 BOD and Route RCs are working closely together to make 2023 a success.  I would ask each of you as you prepare, to focus on your riding skills and safety.  It is up to you to ride within your capabilities and competency to make 2023 our safest year yet, “no Accidents or Incidents” should be our ‘Riding Goal’.

On a personal note, it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve as President of the Board of Directors for 2023, and the Run, and I especially look forward to meeting and talk with as many of you as possible.  Have Great Day.  God Bless you and your family.  Always ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,

Ron ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter August 2022

As I’ve said before, it’s not too early to begin planning for RFTW XXXIII, both for riders and leadership. For leadership, planning actually began as soon as we returned from DC in June. One of the first things to change was the central route coordinator (RC) positions. In June, I succeeded the central route coordinator for 2022 (Tom “Boomps” Miller). Shortly thereafter, I nominated a new assistant route coordinator (ARC), Nick Hentges, who was then confirmed by the Board of Directors (BOD).

Other leadership changes have also occurred, mostly in the state coordinator positions, due to pending retirements from RFTW. California (outside Ontario, CA) has been masterfully led by Bud “Rebar” Phillips for years. Bud’s role will be filled by his former assistant, Larry Medcraft. Curt Gilman will assume the role as state coordinator for Indiana, succeeding Bill “Oz” Chaney. And, in Illinois, where we’ve always been treated to great lunch at the Mount Vernon airport, Angela Schrum is stepping down as state coordinator, and David Parkhill will assume that role. Leadership roles in other teams continue to evolve, and will likely do so until just before our departure from Ontario, CA, in May 2023.

Several preliminary (but vital) planning meetings for RFTW XXXIII have already occurred. We met with state coordinators in June to get their thoughts on RFTW XXXII. Next, we met with platoon leaders in July to hear their observations and suggestions. And, we met with another group which included the fuel team leader, the staging crew leader and the road guard captain. Finally, the entire BOD (including all RCs and ARCs) met at the end of July.

Central Route (CR) leadership has also been working on a number of other matters we believe will assist platoon leadership, and make the ride better for all. First, we are reviewing several after action reports (AARs) to review rider comments, and to assess what observations may have a bearing on route execution. Where feasible, and relevant, we may consider implementing some AAR recommendations. Second, we are in the process of developing standardized platoon briefing notes, containing “minimum” instructions that address route safety matters. This should help platoon leadership provide guidance to new RFTW riders in a consistent manner.

We are continuing to build a list of potential leadership personnel, developed from information derived from volunteer request forms submitted by many riders in 2022. As vacancies occur in platoons, fueling and staging crews, and other leadership positions, we will consider volunteer requests in filling these positions. If you are planning to return to RFTW in 2023, and you have ridden “All the Way” on any route at least once (in 2022 or a previous year), consider submitting a volunteer request form. You can find the volunteer request form on the RFTW website.

On another subject, riders who participated in RFTW XXXII, 2022, may recall from their CR itinerary that we were scheduled to stop at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico on day three of the run. We all remember, however, that that scheduled stop had to be scrubbed due to the gigantic fires burning in the area. CR riders had to divert around Angel Fire (and surrounding mountains), and overnight in Raton, New Mexico instead. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that forced us to bypass the memorial in Angel Fire – easily one of the most beautiful and moving memorials RFTW riders will to see on the run. Fortunately, we will be returning to the Angel Fire memorial as part of RFTW XXXIII, in 2023. In the interim, consider attending the CR Angel Fire Service Mission and Bricklaying Ceremony in September, which was recently announced in a “special” CR newsletter.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

Finally, have you checked out the information posted on the RFTW website regarding new riders (e.g., what to pack)?

Click here for FAQ

And, have you been riding, and keeping up your skills? It is important that you continue riding your motorcycles regularly between runs. Riding not only helps maintain skills, but enhances physical fitness. Ride distances. Practice your shifting and throttle control. If you ride with friends, practice riding side-by-side; first at low speeds, then riding side-by-side at increasingly higher speeds.

So, get out and enjoy the ride. Get ready for your RFTW experience.

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter – Special Angel Fire Edition

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

As has happened since about 2007, the Central Route (CR) will host a bricklaying ceremony and RFTW reunion at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Angel Fire, NM. Since this ceremony began, thousands of bricks have been laid at Angel Fire (I personally had two bricks laid for my brother and myself). Last year, after nearly two years of COVID health restrictions barring visitors at the memorial, RFTW Participants laid over 1300 bricks. This year we will be laying nearly 500 bricks. Bricks laid at the memorial represent veterans from most wars, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf conflicts. Special areas have also been set aside for the founder of the memorial, Doctor Westphal and family, and for several Medal of Honor recipients.

Bricks at Angel Fire Memorial
Setting Bricks at the Angel Fire Memorial

This Workday and RFTW reunion is attended not only by families of veterans, RFTW leadership, Board members, and dignitaries, but by many RFTW riders who come to Angel Fire to volunteer for bricklaying preparations, and the ceremony itself. Whether you have already participated in the RFTW mission, or you plan to do so in the future, you are invited and welcome to attend this event. We believe that future RFTW riders will find this bricklaying ceremony to be a particularly stirring event. In addition, future riders will receive a preview of the amazing, patriotic experiences they will encounter while participating in the RFTW mission.

NOTE: This is not an official Run for the Wall event. This is a gathering of individuals to support the Brick Laying and to get together. Riders and supporters from all Routes are Welcome.

The bricklaying ceremony will occur on Saturday, September 3, 2022. Many RFTW riders chose to arrive on the Friday (Reception at the Laguna Vista Saloon) before the ceremonies to help with bricklaying preparations.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park
Boomer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Angel Fire
Jess Setting Bricks at the Angel Fire Memorial

While it has not yet been scheduled, the State Coordinator (Kenny Keelin) has offered the possibility of a 2 hour ride in the Angel Fire area on Sunday Morning after church services (time and interest permitting).

The actual ceremony takes place on Saturday, which is capped off with a wonderful dinner. During and after dinner there will be a “Riders Forum” where Board Members and Route Leadership will provide updates on the upcoming year’s planning and a brief Q&A session.

Dinner in Eagle Nest

On the sign-up sheet you will find a tentative schedule of events. Please make sure to register and pay as soon as Possible (Before the deadline) so we can tell our supporters and caterer how many of us to expect. Any questions or concerns please contact Nick.hentges@rftw.us

NOTE: This is not an official Run for the Wall event. This is a gathering of individuals to support the Brick Laying and to get together. Riders and supporters from all Routes are Welcome.

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Southern Route RC Newsletter – July 2022

RFTW Southern Route

Welcome to the first XXXIII Southern Route Coordinator’s Newsletter.  Please allow me to begin this first of many newsletters by introducing myself. My name is Kris “Eyes” Wood. I recently moved to Wilder, Idaho, where we live on a small farm with the dogs, chickens and wildlife. My husband Don “Doc” Wood and I raised eight children together and currently have 16 grandchildren.

Run for the Wall Southern RouteI learned about the run from participating in PGR missions. I felt the travesty of RFTW being mostly an unknown event that involved hundreds upon hundreds of veterans. I decided to write a book, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.  My goal in writing the book was to raise awareness of the run and the need for Americans to actively support veterans.

As I have traveled across the country speaking about the run and sharing the book, The many veterans that have been given a copy, share how seeing the photos and hearing the testimonials have helped them come to terms with their combat experiences. Even if they are not able to ride with RFTW, the healing power of the run is there for them.

After the first year on the run, we were hooked and have returned year after year. I have held many positions on the Southern Route, including; 50/50 rouser, tail-gunner, assistant platoon leader, platoon leader, quartermaster, sit-rep writer and a three-year stint as the assistant route coordinator. I am honored to have been appointed as your Southern Route Coordinator for 2023.

The Southern Route has many devoted and hardworking volunteers. Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan has been appointed as the SR Assistant Route Coordinator and together we will plan and execute a safe, meaningful, MISSION FOCUSED Run for the Wall.

The mission is why I ride and why every rider that registers and shows up on the run should be riding:

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

We each have a different and unique reason for riding. I recently contemplated why I ride. When I was 15 years old, my Dad, a World War II veteran drank himself to death, did he suffer from PTSD, or shell shock, I will never know.  The brother-in-law that took my Dad’s place, went off to Vietnam. Upon his return, he was not the same young man that left. Two years ago, he succumbed to Agent Orange related cancer. Freedom is not free and there is never enough that Americans can and should do for our veterans, hence I ride.

As we prepare for RFTW XXXIII, I encourage you to mentally prepare for the run. In your heart and mind, answer the question; Why do I ride?

If you are interested in a leadership position on the XXXIII run, please go to the Run for the Wall website and complete the volunteer form. If you were on the run last year, please complete an After Action Report (AAR), also found on the Run website. If the run is to continue, we need devoted, mission focused volunteers, if you are able, please volunteer.

I am honored to have been mentored and befriended by the Southern Route Family. I wish to thank those that have held this position before me, that have reached out to me with advice and encouragement; Roger “Cowboy” Mead, Billie “Bugs” Dunlap, James “Stoney” Stone, Laurie “Airborne” Clay, Reid “Pops” Choate, Raymond “Ghost Rider” Wyatt, Bob “Captain America” Nelson.

As the SR-RC, I am available to you. If you have an issue, something to share, do not hesitate to contact me; Kristine.wood@rftw.us.

IS IT MAY YET?

Kristine J. Wood “Eyes”
Route Coordinator, Southern Route

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Midway Route RC Newsletter – July 2022

Jim Bruzewski

I want to welcome everyone to the Midway Route Family.

I am Jim Bruzewski also known as “BRUZER”. I have the honor of being selected as the Route Coordinator for the 2023 Midway Route. I have served as a Tailgunner and Asst. Platoon Leader and have been a Road Guard, Push Team Leader and Asst. Road Guard Captain. I have been on the Midway Route since the Inaugural Run. Jerry “Corp” Wilkins joins us as the Asst. Route Coordinator. He will be the ARC as well as my mentor. His experience is invaluable.

We have been in the planning stages for a month now and have most team leads in place. We are always looking for more volunteers to step up and fill a variety of positions. If you have an interest in a particular position or job, send me an email and let me know. Include some of you experience with RFTW. I will get you in touch with the team lead for that position. I definitely appreciate everyone who volunteers as we would not be able to fulfill our mission without you. You are the reason we succeed every year.

The Midway Route is not just a route but is a FAMILY. We have developed a family culture over the years and I intend to carry on in that tradition. We don’t just say the words, it is part of our culture. We have a “servant leadership” that is there to help you get safely across country. Everyone, whether in a leadership position or not is here to answer your questions. The route is about you and the mission and not about leadership. Safety of everyone is of utmost importance.

We will continue to review the After Action Reports from 2022 and consider those experiences and recommendations going forward. We will continue to tweek the route to perhaps add some more varied experiences as we did this year. We understand that there are more veterans on the run who are not Vietnam Veterans like myself and we hope to add some experiences that are more relevant to you. I cannot make any promises but I would like to shorten your days where possible.

I want to thank everyone who participates in fundraising activities throughout the year and encourage you to continue fundraising efforts. The reality is that without fundraising we would not be able to complete our mission and travel accross this country. This year we even had a young lady in grade school who helped in fundraising for the Midway Family. I imagine we could all help.

Hope to see you join the Midway Route “FAMILY”.

The RFTW run dates from CA to DC are May 17-27, 2023
REGISTRATION opens 9-11-2022

“NEVER GIVE UP”

Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski
Midway Route Coordinator 2023

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Homes For Our Troops – Save The Date

HFOT Logo

Exciting news! Homes for our Troops (HFOT) has announced the date for the Shenker Volunteer Day – which will will be held in Queen Creek, Arizona on  Saturday, September 10, 2022 @ 0900 hours (that’s 9:00 AM for you civilians). Official invitations will be available soon, but please save the date!

Volunteers will be helping to lay sod, plant bushes and get some basic home landscaping done. It’s a great way to help out and have fun at the same time.

Status Update on the rest of the builds that RFTW has donated to:

Shenker (AZ) – Volunteer Day 9/10/22

Leoncio (CA) – In Engineering slated for Community Kick Off in 2023

Popp (CO) – In Engineering slated for Community Kick Off in 2023

McMinn (TX) – Volunteer Day Slated for some time in October 2022– Date TBD

Honaker (TN) – COMPLETED