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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

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Edward “Santa Ed” Holterman

Name: Edward Holterman

Road Name: Santa Ed

FNG YEAR: 2010

HOW MANY TIMES ATW: 10

WHICH ROUTE: SOUTHERN ROUTE

Positions HELD: 6 YEARS AS PLATOON LEADER,CAMPING COORDINATOR for 4 years?, And 2 years as an AMBASSADOR, Tail gunner 1 year.

MILITARY VETERAN: Army Vietnam AUGUST 66 – August 9th 67 wasn’t as tough as coming home. That was when I went in a holding pattern for 42 years. I was very angry and felt the survivors “Guilt”.

Gold or blue star: no

Participate in rolling thunder: yes 9 years except 1 year when my bike was running poorly.

Will you participate in rolling to remember: yes

What inspired you to ride for 1st time:

After attending a patriot guard mission in southern California I met “Top Sarge” and her husband. They told me about RTFW. Upon returning home I talked with lifelong Vietnam friend. He had been reading about RFTW on the internet. We both have had a lot of issues since serving in Vietnam. In fact, hardly ever talked or mentioned it for 42 years. No patches or hat. So, one day I purchased 2 Vietnam hat, took one for him and told him it is time we wear these and we have ever since. So, he meticulously planned out the trip in 2010. We agreed if either of us couldn’t go All The Way, the other one would. His bike broke down in Las Cruces and was unable to get it fixed. So as promised, I continued on. I really wanted to quit and go home feeling alone and not knowing anyone. I did make it to DC and finally after all the RFTW was over. I tried to go to my panel at around midnight, still not able to. I had been to the wall four times prior to this but could never go to the panel. While waiting to ride in Rolling Thunder, I set over on the grassy knoll and met some very good friends, and to this day we have become close “brothers”.  I did Rolling Thunder and rode right out west and home.

What Brought you back:

On the 3000-mile ride home, I was able to think about the past few weeks. Still very bothered by the WALL. My friend who broke down decided to bring his brother, wife and a pickup pulling a toy hauler. So, we made plans for one more try. We both made all the way on Southern Route. Still no change at the wall.
I was pulling my tent trailer, so when I was placed in “wagon train” or “trailer trash” PLATOON they needed another Tailgunner. Now I knew a few people from previous year, but pretty much still a loner. Still no change at the wall.
After riding back home 3000 miles, I decided I would try one more time. I rode with a friend from Patriot Guard Riders in Oregon. We went all the way southern route again. This was the year I met a person who spent a lot of time with me in Rancho. He and I talked about everything. This man later became a Southern Route Coordinator. Having those conversations with him is one of the reasons I continue doing RFTW. On my 6th time to the wall, I was finally able to resolve some of those problems. All because of an angel named “Raven”, who took a picture of me leaving my hat with a letter. She started the healing process. Five others came over to where we were standing. All but one of them are still with us. A chaplain told me, ” We will stay with you here for however long it takes”. I needed to understand why I was here, and they were on THE WALL. After a very long time I started to feel the release of all the guilt and anger. He told me that I needed to tell their story and show that we haven’t forgot them. Now I can go that panel and tell the story. In fact, each year for the past three years we do a “got you 6 at 6” after the run is over on Saturday evening. Many veterans have been there and all because of a special brother we started this.

Favorite Memory:

Without any doubt it was the year I was chosen to help place the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Additional Comments:

I do believe RFTW would never have happened if not for Rolling Thunder. We need to show our respect and try to bring everyone home. “Let us never forget”. Like I have told many I would do the “Sandbox Run”, but first the protest ride on Sunday. So, I guess I will be at the Midwest Conflict Wall again for the 4Th Time, but suppose will ride alone again.

After 10 years I have been fortunate to be able to keep participating and now know many brothers and sisters who are some of the best family I’ve ever had. I was visiting with Stoney in Ontario prior to the run a few years ago. I told him if it wasn’t for the FNG’S the run would end. He said “If it wasn’t for the returning participants there wouldn’t be a RFTW. How true “Charlie Mike”. So, I make it my mission now to try and talk to and get to know every FNG. RFTW HAS become the best part of each year. “Den Mother” has been on several runs. She has inspired many to come on the run and several are now in leadership roles.
Thank God for keeping me healthy enough to continue and I love all RFTW participants…

IS IT MAY YET!!!!!!

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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – MAR 2020 – PMA Edition

Howdy from Texas!

How are you feeling?  I’m doing great, my family is all well and most everyone I know is going about their daily routine with the usual caution against social illness.  All of us face challenges every day, some are small and some aren’t but the common thread to getting past them is belief that you will.  When we look across the room (or across the country) at the people in our extended RFTW family and know that they are facing similar challenges as us, then that relationship should foster a sense of understanding for our shared situation.  This large-scale challenge which is now classified as a “National Emergency” affects us all personally in much the same way.  On the Run, I always stress the need for PMA – a Positive Mental Attitude can be the foundation upon which a plan to meet those challenges may be developed. 

My fellow RC’s have published absolutely essential guidance about where to find good information about the precautions you should take against contagion.  I’d like to address the Mental and Emotional aspects of how we approach the issue. 

Everyone who is personally invested in this Mission is anxious to know how current events affect the Run planning and what the plan is in case of ___________.  Some folks actually talk to others about their concerns (phones still do voice calling, right?) and others take to Social Media (SM) to display their serious concerns.  In very many cases, the impersonal format of the SM Post emboldens people to post things that may stir emotional responses that may provoke even more emotional replies.  Please allow me to assure everyone that your Board of Directors and Route Coordinators are ALL personally devoted to the safe and successful execution of this Mission and are considering every course of action available to make that happen.  If you must make SM Posts, please find your personal PMA and keep in mind that whether you are addressing the Board of Directors or just throwing thoughts in the wind, a lot of people will see it.  The seed of emotion we sew will yield the harvest of enthusiasm that was planted.

Finally, please be patient and trust that those whom we have entrusted to prepare this 32nd annual RFTW Run for execution have its best interest in mind.  You may be confident that they bear the weight of its success and will do everything possible to make it the phenomenal event that we have all come to expect.  They also understand that you – the rider and the volunteer – are the heart of this Run.  For your part, please stay safe, stay well, stay positive, stay on course and stay prepared to Continue the Mission!

See you all in May!

WALL 2 WALL!

Bugs out!

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator
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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 2

Greetings form the beautiful Sierra Nevada region where we are expecting 4 feet of snow in the next few days.  With 60 days out from KSU in Ontario, usually the murmur of “Is it May yet?” begins to grow.  Over the years we have dealt with fires, drought, high gas prices, flooding and other of Mother Natures curveballs.  This year is quite different, The Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19 is affecting all of America and the World.  While the magnitude of severity is still uncertain, the issue is serious, not only to the Run but to the health of all of us.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a ton of information on their website www.cdc.gov .  There you will find up to date information on what you can do to protect your Family and prevent the spread of this virus.  Most are very common-sense guidelines. The one thing you shouldn’t do is panic.  Decisions made in haste, are usually not the best ones.

The dynamics of this event are everchanging almost on an hourly basis, and they vary from region to region.  By now you should have seen that our Board of Directors and all RCs have concluded that we would stay the course and continue to plan for a successful 2020 Run For The Wall Mission.  We are continuing to monitor the situation and evaluating the information as it comes in.   Some state governments, in the states where we travel, have currently enacted travel and gathering constraints.  These are not all bad as their intent is to prevent the spread and may hasten the end of restrictions.

There is one thing our Riders is very good at.  When faced with circumstances beyond our control, we Adapt and Overcome. Semper Gumby,  Always Flexible

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter – March 2020 Update #2

Greetings RFTW Midway Family,

 I am writing this newsletter to give everyone an update concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) and RFTW.   Social media is exploding with posts and comments about this virus.  I understand that many of you have questions about how this virus will affect Run for the Wall.  I truly understand the desire to get answers.  Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball and the Run is still two months away.  This situation could change drastically by the time the Run begins.  However, I do want to let you know that the BOD and Route Coordinators are aware of the situation and are taking this very seriously.

Tonight, the BOD had a meeting and the coronavirus (covid-19) was the topic of discussion.  We will be monitoring the CDC’s recommendations and guidelines. The Route Coordinators will be staying in close communications with the State Coordinators to get an understanding of the situation in each state. We will be monitoring for any changes in our route status as well as reaching out to all our hosts that take care of us to monitor any changes that may affect them. 

Rest assured that I will do my best to keep you all informed of any changes that may take place, once said changes have been confirmed.  I will also keep you informed of any additional precautionary health and/or sanitary policies and procedures that may be implemented to address this concern.

Please keep in mind that RFTW BOD, RCs or any other person with RFTW cannot assure your personal health this year or any year.  Your choice to participate in RFTW is personal and best decided based on your personal condition and consulting with your doctor.  Again, this is not unique to this year and this virus situation.  Your health decisions should be between you and your physician.

I believe that prayer is always the answer.  I invite you to join me in praying that this virus situation is over and gone very soon!

Until then, I encourage you all to follow the CDC’s recommendations.  You can find out more on their website, cdc.gov. 

Wishing you all good health and happiness.                                             

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator – 2020

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Statement Regarding COVID-19

For Immediate Release:

Statement of the Board of Directors Re: Corona Virus (COVID-19)

We are still two months out from the start of RFTW XXXII. All of us have many questions about the COVID-19 virus, and precious few answers. This is a very fluid situation. By the time we’re ready to go Kick Stands Up the virus may well have run its course, much like the normal flu viruses we’ve dealt with every year. At the other end of the spectrum, it’s possible we could be confined in quarantine zones throughout the country and subject to severe travel restrictions. Most likely, we’ll find ourselves somewhere in between. As of now, we simply have no way of knowing.

The Board of Directors is following the situation closely. At this time, we are still planning to conduct the Run as we always have. As a precaution, we have asked the Route Coordinators to develop contingency plans in the event any of our normal visits (schools, VA hospitals, community gatherings, etc.) are closed to us. We will continue to monitor events and make decisions as circumstances dictate. These will be announced to our ridership in a timely manner. In the meantime, we ask each of you to…

  • Be patient and remain calm.
  • Avoid speculating on social media… unsubstantiated rumors are not helpful.
  • Plan for the Run to be conducted as usual, unless you hear otherwise from the Board of Directors or your Route Coordinators.
  • Keep your plans flexible and be prepared for the unexpected.

For the Board of Directors,

Les Williams, President

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March 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Run for the Wall - We ride for those who can't

Another greeting from The San Bernardino National Forest!

It’s March! I hope that the weather where you live is starting to warm up enough to enjoy some routine motorcycle riding. Most of us do not need an excuse to get on a motorcycle, but if you do, consider looking locally for a group such as PGR or American Legion Riders, so that you can get used to riding with others in formation. May will be here before we know it.

Over the last few weeks, we have held meetings with our state coordinators and other leadership to finalize changes in meal and gas stops. It is always amazing to me when I realize just how many hours state coordinators log to make sure that our trip across country runs as smoothly as possible.  The itinerary was posted, removed for revisions, and will be reposted soon. Carol Olmstead, our Ontario Coordinator, has also been busy readying for our arrival, organizing a Meet and Greet for Sunday May 10, and a Spaghetti Dinner for May 12 after the Safety Meeting.

This year, thirty participants from RFTW will have the privilege of washing the Korean War Memorial. I had the honor of participating a few years ago, and that act of service produced an emotional experience for me… I felt connected to those who made that ultimate sacrifice so many years ago. If you have never had the opportunity to participate, I urge you to consider it. I will assign volunteers on a first come-first served basis. If you’d like to volunteer, email me at tom.miller@rftw.us  ASAP.

Calling all Campers! Dave “Bounce” Talley offered to serve as our Camping Coordinator! If any camper has any questions, Dave can be reached by calling (716) 347-8520, or writing grabagear@yahoo.com. Thanks, Dave!

Last item: As of this writing, our Central Route has 381 registered riders. Please make sure both you and your motorcycle are in top condition by the time May arrives.

Ride safely,

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

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter – March 2020

Greetings RFTW Midway Family!

There is so much going on right now and I have a lot to share with you.  However, first thing, I regret to inform everyone that the Cookeville, Lebanon and Nashville, Tennessee areas were hit tragically by severe Tornados.  The community of Cookeville has been a longtime supporter of our route and mission and received the most damage.  That community has adopted us, and they truly have become part of our RFTW family.  This year, we will have another breakout to Lebanon for a wreath laying ceremony, a visit to their museum and a donated fuel stop.  I am excited to announce that, for the first time, we will have a breakout team visit the VA hospital in Nashville.  All three of these communities have become a part of our RFTW family and I ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they struggle through this tragic situation.  If you find it in your heart to help, I will be doing something on the route for us to collect money for RFTW Midway to donate to help with this disaster.

Now, on to more pleasant Ontario topics.  Carol Olmstead, our Ontario Coordinator, has made arrangements for our RFTW family to have some social time on the Sunday prior to our departure.  This will take place at the Gateway hotel during and following the Leadership Registration time and will be held by the pool.  There will be some finger foods and a cash beer and wine bar. There will also be a spaghetti dinner on Tuesday in Lot D after the meeting for $10.00 and all proceeds will go to RFTW.   If you will be in Ontario that Sunday and will attend this event and/or will want the Tuesday spaghetti dinner,  please email our ARC Jerry Wilkins at Jerry.Wilkins@rftw.us so he can get the headcount  for both events to Carol.  Please email Jerry ASAP.  Late Monday afternoon Chaffey College students earning their catering and baking degrees will have a cake baking contest.  We get to be the judges and eat the cakes! The bike wash this year at the Gateway will be in the front to the right as you enter the parking lot off of Holt.  Carol has been busy and we appreciate all her hard work.  A lot is going on in Ontario!

Life has been a little crazy for Midway planning lately.  We have had major changes in North Carolina. The Itinerary has been taken down from the website and the draft copies of the books are being printed. Once reviewed and finalized, the revised itinerary will be posted back on the website.  I would encourage everyone to read the new itinerary prior to arrival in Ontario.  Several changes and additions have been made.

As a reminder:  All animals, no matter what their designation, must be kept on a leash while around others.  A posting of RFTW Animal Leash Policy has been added to the Itinerary.  Also, everyone is welcome!  However, if you are a member of a motorcycle club, you must comply with all RFTW ‘s rules, policies and procedures. For the safety of the pack you will be assigned to platoons and may or may not be riding together.  With all due respect, this Run is not about anyone’s club or organization. It is a time for us all to become one RFTW family serving one mission. Thank you for your understanding.

RFTW will have the opportunity and honor to participate in the washing of the Korean Memorial Wall on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day.   I am looking for 6 more volunteers from Midway to serve on this detail.  I will also need 2 Midway Road Guards to assist with this mission.  If you are available on that Sunday for this and would like to participate, please email me as soon as possible.

We now have an opening for a Camping Coordinator.  If you are a camper and are interested in taking on this position, please let me know. 

Leadership, please review your team’s list on the website contact page to make sure it is accurate.  Let me know if any changes or additions are needed.

Hotel Raffle update: Your odds of winning the $1000 hotel raffle are still good.  Currently you have a 1 out of 32 people chance of winning!  Good news is that we have covered the cost of the prize plus a fuel stop with this raffle!  The 2-5 free tickets for purchasing the raffle tickets before the end of February has ended.  However, I believe we can get another fuel stop paid for with this raffle.  What do you think?  If interested, 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 April, you will receive 1 extra ticket (per 10) for free.  The tickets will be capped at 27 per person. Get your tickets early.  There will be no free tickets and the tickets capped at 25 after April!  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

What an awesome team we have on Midway!  So many people are doing so much work to make sure our 2020 route is a safe, successful and meaningful experience for everyone.  I thank you all for all of your hard work, dedication and support. I cant wait to see everyone again and I am looking forward to meeting all the FNGs. Welcome Home!

Have I told you lately?……………..I love my RFTW Family!
Is it May yet!

Honor * Hope* Healing

Ken “Six String” Dugas
RFTW 2020  Route Coordinator, Midway / ARC , Sandbox
Four Routes, One Mission!
Proud Father of a U.S. Marine and U.S. Sailor!
In God we Trust!”