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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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Edwin “Thumb” Musto

Name: Edwin Musto

Road Name: THUMB

FNG Year: 2016

I was on the yellow Goldwing on my FNG year – 2016

How many times have you been All the Way? Three times all the way.        

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? All three times on Central Route – 2020 would have been my 4th time on Central Route as well as Sandbox.

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?  On RFTW there are so many memories made. However I must say that arriving at Ontario CA on my FNG year I was blown away of the camaraderie and the Brotherhood shown to me being a boy from South Africa and now living in New Zealand. The other memory is after my accident in Topeka KS and catching up with the pack at Rainelle and then being offered a ride into Arlington. Not only was this just a ride but a ride being in the Missing Man Formation. I will never forget the tears seeing all the white markers and then going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and being assisted to find the name of RICHARD FRANK MUSTO whom I had ridden for. These memories I will cherish forever and I will NEVER forget. Another memory is my wife riding with me on RFTW and us both going to the wall together, and many more!


Me at the wall on my FNG year 2016
Janet (Thumbelina) and I at the wall together in 2017

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

If you have, which Positions have you held? In 2017 I was on the Ambassador Team and in 2018 I was on the Communications Team. 2021 I will be on the Communications Team and an Ambassador on Sandbox Route.

Riding with Janet (Thumbelina) on her FNG year and as an Ambassador – 2017

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? Yes. I served in the South African Defense Force (Army) 1980-1982 as a Corporal.

Me as a young Corporal back in about 1981

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? I lost my cousin Edward Leslie Mayo on 17 January 1977. He was accidentally shot by friendly fire at Kwando in the East Caprivi which is the far North Eastern corner of what is now called Namibia.

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? I had read about Run for the Wall while doing research on a book I am writing about my family history. I first discovered the name of Richard Frank Musto on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and after that found out about the run and wanted to ride in honor of him. I have found no trace of any links to our direct Musto family.

What brought you back? Like many FNG’s I was only going to do this once. As for me the cost and logistics to do this Mission is way out my reach. However, with a supportive wife and a very supportive Brother from another mother aka Kevin (Speedbump) Bowman I have been blessed to return to do the run and ride for those who can’t.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? No.

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? Unfortunately not as will be participating in Sandbox Route.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” I ride for those who can’t who have given the supreme sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. I also ride for many Brothers who I served with in South Africa who gave the supreme sacrifice.

Anything else to Add??

I am passionate about Run for the Wall and share about the Mission where and when I get the opportunity. I hope I can do the Run a few more times in the future. Thanks to the BoD of RFTW and all the many volunteers who work tirelessly year-round so that we can continue to RIDE FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T.

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Midway Route Coordinator Newsletter- March 2020 – #4

Greetings RFTW family from sunny south Louisiana. Yes, it has finally stopped raining, (at least for today). The sun is shining and we are moving forward with our mission!

A lot of people are going through very tough times right now. Our veterans and all our RFTW family need to know that we are here for each other and support one another. Please reach out to your RFTW family if you need us. At this time, I would like to remind everyone of the tragic tornado devastation to our friends and family in the Cookeville and Lebanon Tennessee areas. These towns are great supporters of RFTW. Several people have reached out to me to ask if there was something we can do to help. With the help of the TN State Coordinators, I am pleased to tell you the answer is yes!

I did not want to set something up to send money to a place where our donations would be lost and we wouldn’t know what the money was used for. Our Tennessee State Coordinators have reached out to the people in the area to determine what we could do to help veterans that were in dire need of help to recover from the tornado. Our donations will be going directly to help needy veterans! Some cannot afford to even start the rebuilding process!

I have spoken with our Treasurer, Ken Ward and he has helped to set up the process for this. If you would like to donate to this cause, please make checks payable to: Run for the Wall (RFTW) and mail to:
RFTW attn: Ken Ward
1766 S. Erie Highway, Hamilton, OH  45011
IMPORTANT!: Make sure you write “Midway Tornado Relief” on the note line. If you do not, your donation will not go to this cause.

The “Donate” button on the RFTW.US website has been moved to the front page. You can also use this button to donate through PayPal. If you are donating for this cause, you need to make sure that you put “Midway Tornado relief” in the note section or, once again, your donation will not go to this cause.

There are so many people who need help. However, I hope our efforts make you feel comfortable that your donations will get to our veterans in need. I want to thank our TN State Coordinator Ron “Sky” King and his Assistant SC, Ed “Midway” Butler for their efforts to make sure our donations will go to help veterans.

Ed personally worked in a veteran’s home to assist with salvaging and recovering their belongings from what was their home. They survived in a closet under the stairs, the only room intact.  Ed said, “There are no words to express the sadness and hurt a person feels working to pick up a lifetime of families heirlooms.”

We have RFTW “boots on the ground” there to oversee the distribution of our donations.

The point of contact is the Putnam Veteran’s Service office. Although we have been told they had not identified all of the veterans effected, they have had several come in asking for assistance. We are focused on the Veterans.

This sign is one of two made specifically for Run for the Wall by Cookeville.

Hwy 70 is where the main tornado damage occurred. Two of these hwy 70 signs were made specifically for RFTW. The largest donor will get one of the signs and the other sign will accompany us on RFTW to be signed and them given back to Cookeville.

I invite people from all routes to contribute to this cause if they would like. We are 4 routes but 1 mission. I will keep you updated from time to time on how our fundraising for the tornado victims is going.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Sincerely,
Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 4

Yes, the 2020 Run For The Wall is cancelled and we are all disappointed.  But the Run is only a part of the Mission.  Please don’t let disappointment ruin your enthusiasm.  I personally refuse to give any credit to some virus, who’s name I will not mention, for cancelling the Run.  We care about the wellness of our Riders’ and Supporters’ personal safety.

The Mission has no start or end date.  It will end when They are ALL Home.  If you have read the other RC Newsletters, and I hope you do, there is plenty we can do to stay Mission active.  We will begin planning RFTW XXXII 2021 edition very soon.  Also, in the works is Some great ALL Rider Reunions.  Kerrville, TX dates are September 24-27 always an event filled long weekend.  Over Labor Day weekend is the Angel Fire, NM Reunion, at one of the most beautiful parts of America.  I hear the another is in the planning stages for 4th of July weekend.  Check the rftw.us website forum under Regional Gatherings for more details.  I have been to the previous 8 Kerrville and the previous 3 Angel Fire Reunions.  They are a good way to recharge the spirit in between the Run dates.

For those who ordered the 20th Anniversary T-Shirts, they will be there for you in 2021.

Depending on where you live, you might try a little wind therapy.  Here in Nevada the Gov has shut down all non-essential services, which includes Casinos and even the Cat Houses, if you can believe that.

On this day 50 years ago, 23MAR70, I went off to boot camp.  I left cold and windy Chicago for sunny San Diego.  I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.  But I knew I had to learn fast and when faced with difficulty, adapt and overcome.   As I look back now, I think that feeling has been with me my whole life.  Why am I telling you this?  Hopefully soon this crisis will be behind Us, and We as a Nation will be Smarter and Stronger for it.  RFTW STRONG

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter – March 2020 update #3

Greetings RFTW Midway Family!

I know we are all disappointed about our 2020 run being cancelled.  I needed a couple of days for this to settle in and spend with my grandchildren.  Now, I am back in the saddle!  I plan on taking this negative and making it a positive by focusing on the future.  I hope you all will as well.

I thank you for your support over this past year.  I am so proud of our team and the job they have done.  We had several new and exciting things we were going to incorporate into our 2020 route.  We will just continue to work on them and make it even better for 2021.

Looking forward, I have spoken with my wife “High Maintenance”, and with the support of our Midway team, I will accept the RC 2021 position. I really want to finish what we have started this year. 

We will turn the cancelation of our 10 day Run into a yearlong mission.  Our Run might have been cancelled but our Mission lives on.  Our Outreach Coordinator and her team have an excellent and exciting plan that I look forward to sharing with all of you.  Plans have begun on a very unique reunion idea that most likely will be held over the 4th of July weekend.  We will continue to have a fund raiser to help veterans in dire need from the Cookeville tornado devastation.  We will have the drawing for the $1000 hotel prize.  We will be here for any of our veterans that need our support.

I have already begun the work of assembling our team for 2021.  “High Maintenance” and I will be taking this opportunity to make all three reunions if possible.   I will continue to post RC Newsletters to keep everyone updated as to what we have going on and the progress we are making.  I hope that you all will begin your planning to join us for RFTW 2021!

With much respect and gratitude,

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway RC

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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – MAR 2020 – PMA.2 Edition


Howdy from Texas!

By now, I’m sure you have all heard that the Run is cancelled for this year.  I can’t express how very disappointed I am that we had to come to this decision – but under the circumstances, it is the right decision.  So you might ask, how does my admonition for a Positive Mental Attitude still apply here?  Well here’s how it works…

I have written before how our annual Run is a recharge for the soul and a wonderful opportunity to see the family every year, giving us the motivation and energy to get through to the next year.  But I have also understood that the Run is only a part of the Mission.  Let’s read through that Mission statement together…

  • 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
  • To Support our military personnel all over the world

When I read that some of our legendary riders were counting on this year’s Run to be their finale (I’m looking at you Old School!), I deeply feel for them and will miss them on the road – does that mean we can’t promote healing for them?  We may not be in DC to help raise awareness for the continued call for accounting – does that mean our voices can’t be heard?  We may not be at the Apex on Saturday morning to lay a wreath in memory of their Sacrifice – does that mean we can’t honor them?  Through all this, our military personnel from all branches are standing the watch at dangerous locations around the world – does this mean we won’t support them?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO!  Everyone one of us who believe RFTW is family, and who LOVE this Run would not hesitate to make extraordinary sacrifice and selfless efforts to be a part of it.  But we all know the underlying purpose is always THE MISSION!  Will we Continue The MissionYES!!!

Here’s where your continued PMA will play a huge role…  Every tenant of our Mission is about people.  We as a family, are accustomed to having two weeks in May when we totally focus on each other as well as the people for whom our Mission is dedicated.  Some folks are contemplating making a run across the country anyway – that’s a decision each person must assess and make for themselves.  But also ask yourself – is it about the ride or the Mission?  If you need the ride – do what you have to do, may God bless you for a safe journey. 

If you don’t ride, you can still serve the Mission.  For every one of our loyal enthusiastic riders there may be hundreds of veterans in your area that could use some attention or encouragement.  Let’s Continue the Mission by letting them know that they are not forgotten.  Deliver a care package or make a visit if allowed.  How about your voice – let’s write letters to our congress folks to tell them where we want them to focus attention.  Your personal letter along with hundreds from the rest of our family will ensure they know we’re still here, even when they don’t hear our pipes.  There are also many war memorials all over the country, likely one in your area or at least nearby.  We can honor our fallen at those as well.  Finally, our service members around the world take no pause in defending our Freedom and supporting our interests in much less hospitable conditions than ours.  The USO and other service organizations are constantly seeking support to provide to our troops. 

So here’s my PMA challenge to everyone who considers themselves a part of the family:  Find your personal PMA and channel it in your own way to Continue the Mission.  The whole of our collective effort is much greater than the sum of each individual action.  So let’s hear your ideas, let’s see your actions and let’s celebrate your accomplishments!  Your sharing of all three will be contagious in a good way and we’ll see that the Family is strong and that our reach is still significant and effective.

This regrettable delay of RFTW XXXII for a  year may be upon initial assessment, a sad time in our history.  But with your collective effort and dedication to our Mission it can be turned to a phenomenal positive so that when we get together in May 2021, the gathering will be as much celebration as a reunion. 

I know there will be many details to attend as we contact our wonderful supporters to coordinate this development – we will get to that.  Your SandBox Route Leadership will be holding its first RFTW 2021 planning meeting next week, so we’ll have that covered as well.  My immediate concern is for you, my RFTW Family and to let you know that our focus has not failed and that YOU are the biggest part of our continued success.  The Mission depends on you and I know my Family will be even stronger after this challenge. 

Remember, all roads lead to all roads so no matter where you go, TOGETHER WE RIDE!

See you all in May 2021! (or Kerrville or Angel Fire or…)

WALL 2 WALL!

Bugs out!

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator



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2nd March 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Greetings from my quarantine compound, 


In 1966, Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech that included, “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times’. Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” 


The decision reached by the board of directors and route coordinators to cancel 2020 RFTW was absolutely necessary because COVID19 regulations in every state we traverse made it impossible for a group as large as ours to congregate anywhere.

None of us like it, but it is what it is. 

The state coordinators were given several hours notice of the board’s decision, so that they could contact our host hotels and those organizations that support us along the way. It is your responsibility to cancel your own hotel reservations. It is my understanding that all of the 2020 registrations will be rolled over to 2021. The board asked that Bruce and I continue to serve as Route Coordinator and Assistant Route Coordinator for 2021. It is our hope that we see each of you on the run next year.

One last point: the six elementary schools we support along the way will really miss the generous donation they receive from Central Route when we visit. Jenny Ward, our Central Route Treasurer told me Cochiti, a reservation school we support, did not even have funds for pencils and paper before we presented them with our first donation.  If you would like to individually contribute to our schools, you can send a check to RFTW and write “SCHOOLS” in the memo. Checks should be sent to Jenny Ward at 1766 South Erie Highway, Hamilton, Ohio 45011. Thank you in advance for your generosity. 

Ride safely and stay well. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall
Central Route Coordinator

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 3

By now I’m sure you have heard the 2020 RFTW has been cancelled.  Who would have thought that after all of the obstacles we have faced and overcome, we would be sidelined by a virus.   The decision was not an easy one, but when it comes down to the Health and Safety of our Riders and Supporters coupled with CDC guidelines, ever increasing State and Local restrictions left us with really no options.  A great many riders are enduring a huge financial burden, due to related business closures, making it impossible to participate in 2020.  I have heard form many of you that you have had to use your savings and vacation time to get through this crisis with little or no income.

For those who made reservations at the host hotel Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, the entire room block is cancelled.  All other hotels are the riders responsibility to cancel.

So, what do we do going forward?  The RFTW Board of Directors has voted to retain all 2020 Route Coordinators for the 2021 Run.  Once the initial shock wears off, we will begin planning next year’s Run.  It will still be the Southern Route’s 20th Anniversary, just a year later.  If you have questions or thoughts on planning for Southern Route, email me at bob.nelson@rftw.us

We WILL get through this.  Until then Stay Safe.  More to Follow…..

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter – March 2020 update #3

Greetings RFTW Midway family,

I attended the Board of Directors meeting that was called to discuss the Covid-19 virus situation and the effect on RFTW 2020.  Much discussion was had and after much consideration, I regret to inform you that RFTW 2020 has been cancelled.  It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you this because I know how important this mission is to everyone and how much work has gone into planning for this Run.  I am sure that you are all as disappointed about this as I am. 

I have been in touch with all the State Coordinators. Like most participants, some wanted us to continue and others did not think it was a good idea.  The CDC guidelines and many of the state’s government restrictions just made the planning for our route to go on practically impossible. 

The BOD is charged with the responsibility of making sure the Run for the Wall, as an organization, is protected and here to serve our mission for the future.  It was a difficult vote to make but was done for the benefit of RFTW’s future as well as for the safety of our RFTW family and supporters.  The 4 Route Coordinators understand and support their decision.  I hope you all will too. 

I want to thank everyone who put so much work into our mission for this year.  I am very grateful to all of you who put so much time and effort with me into this 2020 Run to make it, what I know would have been, such a special year. I do not want to single anyone out and it is not practical for me to list everyone. However, I must thank the State Coordinators and our Road Guard Captain!  An unbelievable number of hours were put in by these people. I also want to thank our ARC. He was thrown into this position at the last minute and was such a big help.  All our team leaders stepped up to the plate.  What a fantastic team we have put together!  I hope that you will all be here for us again for 2021! 

We realize that this mission touches and affects many communities across our country.  It was only right that we do not wait until the last minute to cancel this event this year.  In some areas, our State Coordinators were finding it very difficult to impossible to obtain the volunteers, supplies and donations to take care of us, and State’s restrictions would not allow our group to assemble.  We also must consider the impact we have on businesses, donors and volunteers.  For instance, we book hundreds of hotel rooms.  It would not be very respectful to the hotels to cancel all those rooms at the last minute.  They would probably be very reluctant to block rooms for us again next year.  Our Hosts will be buying all kinds of food and supplies for us, it would not be right to back out on them at the last minute and have them stuck with the expenses and wasted time put into this.

Our route was put together very well, and our leadership team represented RFTW very professionally.  We must cancel this event just as well and professionally.  We need time to contact the hotels, donors, hosts, Law Enforcement, community leaders, etc….   We must express our regret as well as our appreciation for their understanding and support.  We will ask for their continued support for next year as well! When cancelling your hotel reservations, please thank them and let them know that we look forward to staying with them next year. Please be a good ambassador for RFTW. It is a difficult time for them as well and we want them to look forward to working with us again.

I will continue to send out RC Newsletters with any updates that I can pass on to all of you to keep you informed as to what is going on with the Midway route. and our plans to prepare for 2021.

The BOD has asked me to return as Route Coordinator for 2021.  This route belongs to the Midway family.  If the Midway team will support my return, I would be honored to work another year as RC to serve the Midway Route for 2021.  I hope that we will be able to keep this fantastic team together!   I choose to not look at this as a negative thing but as a positive opportunity to begin work early for Midway 2021! God willing, this situation will pass soon. My trust is in God and if this situation changes soon enough, you never know, I may just show up at “The Wall” on my own for Memorial Day weekend. Maybe I will see some of you there!

I wish you all good health and happiness and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the reunions.

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

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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FROM THE PRESIDENT, RUN FOR THE WALL, INC.

March 20, 2020

On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is my sad task to announce that we are cancelling RFTW XXXII scheduled for May 2020, because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  This action reflects the unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, with the concurrence of all four Route Coordinators.  We felt it necessary to make this decision now so that riders will have sufficient time to take whatever actions may be needed, such as cancelling reservations, without incurring any penalties.  We also felt it was necessary so that our state coordinators could begin notifying the communities and organizations who support us as soon as possible.

The Board of Directors did not reach this decision lightly.  Each of us agonized over it and came to this conclusion with the utmost reluctance. We ask for your understanding and support.  Rest assured, our next regular Board meeting on April 9th will mark the beginning of our planning to resume THE MISSION in 2021.

From each of us on the Board, and from your Route Coordinators, thank you!

Les Williams
President, RFTW Board of Directors