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President’s Message September 2017

I hope this message finds you well and preparing for the 30th Annual Run For the Wall Celebration. I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone and how busy it has been.

The Board of Directors and Route Coordinators have been working to make this 2018 RFTW a very special time for everyone. The All Route Reunions in Springfield, MO and Angel Fire, NM have been completed giving folks a time to renew friendships and begin new ones.

The Labor Day weekend gathering in Eagle Nest & Angel Fire, NM gave us a chance once again to reflect on the values we all share, while honoring all veterans of all wars. Congratulations to Steve Berniklau and his team on an outstanding working reunion. This effort was very different in that Steve and his team organized and executed the plan to place 414 veteran and active duty honor bricks along the walkways of the Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial.  The Saturday Dinner and reunion welcome was very well done.  We were especially honored to have the RFTW Founder — James “Gunny” Gregory, 2018 Southern Route Coordinator — Chad O’Dell, and 2018 Central Route Coordinator — Harlan Olson in attendance.  A memorial brick was also laid for James “Gunny” Gregory.

On September 22, 2017 the Kerrville, TX All Route Reunion continues the reunion season. Roger “Cowboy” Mead assured me they still have space in the reunion hotel and it is not too late to register – All Are Welcome.

During August, most of us went about our everyday business. Then suddenly very dark clouds appeared on the horizon in the form of Hurricane Harvey. A catastrophe we have never seen before hit Houston, Texas. The State of Texas is home to many of our RFTW riders and supporters. After Harvey came ashore and parked over Houston and surrounding areas, the flooding began. Many of our riders called to see what the Board of Directors could do to help. At the Angel Fire reunion the board voted to start a fund raising project that would aid veterans and supporters in the affected area. The board has challenged riders and supporters of RFTW to raise $10,000 or more for this cause and the board will match up to $10,000. The Angel Fire reunion displayed the generosity RFTW riders are famous for by donating $1,552 to begin this campaign at the Saturday night dinner.

The details of this fund raiser will be similar to how RFTW handled the thousand year flood in Rainelle, West Virginia. Information will soon be available on the Forum and through social media. If you have friends and neighbors who want to help, invite them to join in with us to help the Houston, Texas, area by donating to this cause. If you want to donate now, please send a check to BoD Treasurer:

Ken “Catfish” Ward
1766 S Erie Hwy
Hamilton, OH 45011
Be sure to note on the memo line: “For Houston Relief.”

Mission 25 (M25) will be working with us in this effort through their faith based disaster funding source, Disaster Relief USA (DRUSA). Every dollar donated to this fund will be spent with zero overhead costs. M25 is the organization that provides spiritual help, hydration, snacks, medical assistance and more each year along each RFTW route.

RFTW will be posting a volunteer workers spreadsheet giving our riders and supporters the chance to go to Houston when the water recedes to help veterans clean up the flood damage. M25, led by Gary “Shepard” Burd, will coordinate this hands-on work activity in Houston. Gary stated he needs a steady workforce to complete this mission.

We will post this sign-up sheet soon for those of you who are able to help. After you sign-up you will be notified when they are able to start this mission and when you will be needed. Gary reports that M25 is already feeding volunteer workers and first responders while planning teams will follow shortly to assess workforce and other needs.

Please keep checking the forum and these messages for new updates as soon as we know the needs assessment is complete.

We Ride for Those That Can’t.

Les “Easy” Williams
Board of Directors President


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

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Midway Route Coordinator News – September 2017

Good Morning All!

My name is Mike “Bandit” Huber. I have been chosen to be your Route Coordinator on the Midway Route for the 30th year of Run For The Wall.  It is My Deepest Honor to be in that position; I am a Vietnam Veteran; I served with the 1st Cav 3rd Brigade 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion and the 129th 1st Aviation Brigade Assault Helicopter Co.

Glenn “Wombat” Waggoner has been chosen by the Board of Directors as the Assistant Route Coordinator and Ken “Six String” Dugas has been chosen to be our Road Guard Captain. It is my honor to have these two as part of our Leadership Team.

Well here we are in September and May will be here before we know it!

I hope that everyone is preparing for another great mission RFTW XXX. It seems like just yesterday that I was on my first RFTW mission in 2003.

I will be posting our leadership contact list soon. If there is anyone who would like to volunteer and who meets the criteria please let me know.

I will be keeping you up to date on our Run For The Wall  XXX as we progress.

The online registration is up and running, so now is the time to register.

Thanks to All Who Serve!

THREE ROUTES ONE MISSION
GOD HONOR COUNTRY
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

Sincerely,

Mike “Bandit” Huber
Midway Route Coordinator
mike.huber@rftw.us

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Central Route Coordinator News – August 2, 2017

The month of July has been busy with beginning to plan for the Central Route May 2018 venture from California to Washington, DC. One of the first checklist items was to introduce the prospective Assistant Route Coordinator to the RFTW Board of Directors for approval. That has been done and I am happy to say that Eamon Tansey is the Assistant Route Coordinator for the 2018 RFTW event.

The Southern Route has had an Outreach Program in place for several years that reaches out and visits with Gold Star families along the Route. I have asked Eamon to spearhead that effort on the Central Route and he tells me that good progress is being made.

The next checklist item was to contact the State Coordinators from past years along the Route, to ask if they are willing to remain in their capacity for the planning of the May 2018 Run. I have written all the State Coordinators and have received commitments from about half of them. A major key to a successful Run lies in the early planning by the State Coordinators.

Eamon and I have been talking about what can be done to reduce the number of incidents that happen on the road. What are the main causes? Is it lacking information, training, skills or (fill in the blank)? We are dedicated to promoting whatever it takes to improve safety.

Going into August, we will continue to assemble the Platoon Leaders, their Assistants, and Tail Gunners. On the Central Route, we have been blessed with good experienced leadership and, hopefully, that will continue into 2018.

There is a reunion coming up in Eagle Nest/Angel Fire, New Mexico, over Labor Day weekend which I urge you to attend, if possible. Run for The Wall riders lay commemorative bricks along the walkways for any who have served in the Armed Forces. This is an RFTW service project to honor our veterans from all wars. This reunion is open to all riders. To register for the reunion and for more information, check out this link.
The itinerary for Angel Fire/Eagle Nest is here.

My Wall is Your Wall,
Harlan “Whitebirch” Olson


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

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President’s Message August 2017

In July 2017 the Board of Directors met during the Springfield, Missouri, All-Routes Reunion and completed the 2018 slate of Route Coordinators and Assistant Route Coordinators.

The Southern RC is Chad “Slacker” O’Dell and his ARC is Billie “Bugs” Dunlap. The Midway RC is Mike “Bandit” Huber with ARC Glenn “Wombat” Waggoner. Finishing out the slate for the Central Route is RC Harlan “Whitebirch” Olson and ARC Eamon “Boomer” Tansey. Since that meeting the BoD and these route leaders have continued the planning for the 30th Annual Run For The Wall. We are all looking forward to a great celebration year and these leaders will be working hard to produce a safe and professional run for everyone in 2018.

I hope this message finds you having a great riding season and planning trips to the next two All-Route Reunions. Remember, All are welcome at these reunions… Past riders, new FNGs, and supporters of Run for the Wall.

The RFTW Eagle Nest/Angel Fire, New Mexico Reunion will be held on Friday, Sept. 1 — Sunday, Sept. 3. This is both a fun and moving time and involves some work for the Memorial at Angel Fire, installing memorial bricks on Saturday and completing the day with a great dinner in Eagle Nest. Check out the registration forms on our web forum and respond to Steve Berniklau NLT August 30th — Click Here. You will receive a confirming email after you register. It is necessary for the people preparing the dinner to know how much food to prepare.

The last reunion for the year will be in Kerrville, Texas, and they are planning many rides through the hill country of Texas which reveals ranch land that goes as far as one can see! Cowboy and his crew are waiting to show you all this Texas cattle country and its beautiful western scenery. Please check out the registration information on our web forum and let Cowboy know you’re coming! — Click Here. This is a wonderful weekend Sept. 22– Sept. 24. Try to attend.

While attending other events this summer, I have been happy to hear our riders telling me about the motorcycle training courses they have taken to improve their skills. I think keeping riding skills sharp is very important and keeps us all safe. These training sessions can give you a chance to practice new skills throughout the winter for those of us blessed with very little snow or ice. Our statistics show our skills in slow riding and departing the highway for fuel and lunch stops has seen many preventable incidents along all three routes. The point is be safe and keep improving your skills.

Hope to see you at all these reunions and remember, “We Ride for Those Can’t.”

Please keep our troops in your prayers: They are in harm’s way every day while deployed. Reach out to the ones you know and welcome them to join us even if it’s for just one day.

Thanks to those who have written me with ideas on how to make us younger and better!

Keep up the good work.

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run for The Wall Board of Directors


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

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Central Route Coordinator News – July 14, 2017

RFTW Riders and Supporters,
My name is Harlan Olson, and I have the distinct privilege of being nominated and selected as the 2018 Run For The Wall Central Route Coordinator. The RFTW Board of Directors at their Face-to-Face meeting during the Springfield Summer Reunion last week approved Eamon Tansey to be my Assistant Route Coordinator. I am also happy to announce that Tom Miller has committed to return as Central Route Road Guard Captain. We are in the process of putting together the leadership team for 2018.

We are excited to be introducing the Outreach Program into the Central Route, and will be depending on the Southern and Midway Routes to help us accomplish this task. One of the facits of the Outreach mission is to contact families of the fallen along our route to let them know we still remember.

My Wall is Your Wall,
Harlan “Whitebirch” Olson


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

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Southern Route Coordinator News – July 2017

Good Morning Run For The Wall!

My name is Chad (Slacker) O’Dell. I would like to take a moment to thank you for the honor to have been selected as the Southern Route Coordinator for the 30th Run For The Wall 2018.

The Springfield, MO BoD face-to-face meeting was held July 7-9, 2017 and at that time my selections for ARC and RGC had been confirmed, and they are Billie (Bugs) Dunlap as Assistant Route Coordinator, and Robert (Captain) Mazzone as Road Guard Captain.

In the coming weeks I will begin to get the core team in place and start the planning for the 30th RFTW. If you have identified yourself as a potential candidate for a leadership position on The Run — Thank you. If you would like to volunteer for a position, and have not done so, Please forward your request and contact information to me at: Chad.ODell@rftw.us.

We Ride for those who can’t

Chad (Slacker) O’Dell
Southern Route Coordinator 2018

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President’s Message July 2017

Hello, RFTW, and Welcome to the 2018 30th Anniversary RFTW. I am honored to be selected as the President of the Board of Directors for this 30th year of “Riding for Those Who Can’t”. The impact of RFTW since Gunny Gregory started this mission has exceeded everyone’s expectations every year. Our expectations for 2018 are for a very busy year of planning, riding and change.

These changes will occur over the coming years as we seek to reach out and welcome warriors from all conflicts, with major focus on those following Vietnam to join us on our mission of respect, healing, demonstration and honor. The BOD established a Sustainability Committee in February 2017 to provide the board with ideas and information on ways to accomplish this task. The committee is made up of four board members and two riders. The two riders are John Staub – Central Route and Kris Wood Southern Route, while BOD members Ray Brammer, Kirk Olson, Doug Lyvere, and I round out the committee. During the year I will be reporting on this committee’s actions and how we are proceeding. With this in mind I will be reaching out to you for help in accomplishing the committee’s goal of making sure RFTW has younger leadership that takes this mission into its 60th anniversary in the year 2048! This is a noble goal and the BOD will need everyone’s help in recruiting these younger warriors.

Our average age for the 2017 RFTW was 62.5 years old, a number that tells us we have time to get this mission accomplished. One idea will be to more clearly market our riding options that allow joining us for not just 10 days, but for any number of days. Remember when you were 35 years old raising a family and working—could you spare two plus weeks? Most of us started doing a few days and then made plans to add more days in the future.

On behalf of the BoD, I want to thank all the leadership and riders for completing the 2017 RFTW for a safe and a professionally run mission. Also, to all the folks throughout the country who gave their time and energy to support the 2017 RFTW. We could not succeed without your support.

Hope to see you at the All Routes Reunion in Springfield, MO July 7-9. Dewayne Howard has planned a great reunion with some very good rides including one to Branson, MO that is a fun trip.

If you cannot make the Springfield reunion there are TWO more upcoming reunions:
1) Angel Fire / Eagle Nest, NM is set for Sept 1-3, and
2) Kerrville, TX Sept 22-24

Steve “Spooner” Berniklau will once again be heading up the Angel Fire reunion, and the RFTW tradition of laying memorial bricks at the Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire. Roger “Cowboy” Mead has fun rides and activities planned for the Kerrville, TX weekend. Hope to see you there as well. ALL RIDERS, supporters and Future FNGs are encouraged to come and are welcome at all RFTW Reunions! Save the dates and attend!

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run For The Wall Board of Directors


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©