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Southern Route 2024 SitReps – Day 10 – Run For The Wall

Day 10 – Southern Route; Lynchburg, VA to Washington, DC

Day 10 seemed like a long day.  We rode 256 miles and we did have rain for an hour or two but nothing that wasn’t easily handled.  Everyone had rain gear and we all came through just fine.  And, this was the only rain worth mentioning on the whole run.  We had a nice breakfast at the Tree of Life Ministries with some presentations and then on the road.  Lunch was at the Doubletree hotel parking lot before the last leg of 66 miles to the Host Hotel, to the Holiday Inn in the city of Arlington.  That was the highlight of the day, pulling into the Host Hotel.  Everyone was very excited, we were not the first route to pull in so there were greetings from the first route and lots of people greeting and many friends getting together to celebrate.  Gunny piped up to remind the FNG’s “This is Run to the Wall, NOT Run to the Holiday Inn!  Do not turn your FNG buttons over yet! “.  After hanging in the hotel we all meandered to our respective hotel or room to get ready for the next day, Saturday.

There’s a story I wanted to pass on about one of our riders.  It’s not so much a story about soldiers or family members battling the consequences of war but it’s a story of one of our RFTW family members and his working through healing of his emotions and his faith in God as he oversees our lives.  I recorded some of our conversation and will transcribe it. This is about Matt Cobley and his son.

My name is Matt, they call me SuperDad.  My son is Matthew Allen Cobley II, he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle on August 12, 2022.  In the hospital, in surgery, they had to remove two sections of his skull, his eyes were fixed and dilated, they told me he was brain dead, and never coming back.  I didn’t want to live, I walked in hell for 2 days until I saw God speak to my son and say he will recover.  Since then, I stayed with him for the last 22 months, I lost my home and property and possessions, and I sleep in my truck outside the facility and I stay with him every day.  And, he is recovering, slowly but surely.  I’ve been there to help him, make sure gets everything he can, I advocate for him, I’ve saved him from unnecessary surgery, it’s been quite a run. And, I know God is with him every day and that’s the only thing that keeps me going, is Jesus Christ.”  There are some pictures of Young Mathew below who was a good kid, a cool kid and once again will have a life in front of him.   An interesting part of Matt’s story is with his cat, Big Sweet Billy.  The story is:  “Big Sweet Billy is my cat.  He stays with me every day.  He has opened a lot of doors for me.  Because of him, they know me.  I’ll go in there for my son, but he (Billy) meets everyone outside.  He comes in to visit also, but before it was all hospitals and Mathew was on a respirator for 5 months and then Trach’s for another 9 months so that means you’re in a sub-acute facility and most kids are on vents so they don’t let animals in, they worry about infection etc.  But now, he’s in a step down.  Now, I’ve become friends with, well everyone that I can but the person in charge, she’s been texting me and telling me my son has been doing well but one of the staff members was giving me a hard time telling me you can’t bring that cat in here!  And, I already had permission so she went to file a report and some other stupid stuff but she just didn’t like cats.  I even have Service Cat designation and she tried to make a big deal of it but the person in charge shot the reports down and Big Sweet Billy is allowed to come into the room and sometimes he sleeps on the bed with Mathew and I while I read to Mathew so it all worked out.  Without him, Billy, I would be alone, except for the Lord, but it’s nice to have that little companion.  He worries about me more than I worry about him.  And, he’s my best friend.  The person that’s watching him now, sends me pictures of him and yesterday, he was sitting there staring out their window waiting for me to come back.  And for Mathew, one of the staff members sent me pictures of him yesterday and he’s looking real good.  We’ll get there, one of these days, I’ll bring him here on this run.  You have to share this miracle with the world because he is a miracle and people need to believe in miracles.

So, we have a miracle story of healing on this ride and we will all be pulling for Matt and his son, Mathew.

Thanks for reading.



USAF – ’72 – ‘75

Finally at the Host Hotel in Arlington!

Some rain in Virginia – this was at the Sheetz Gas Station in Fisherville.

A few folks at the Hilton Host Hotel celebrating.

More arrivals to the Host Hotel in Arlington.

Fueling in the rain – Sheetz.

Some presentations at the Doubletree Parking lot.

More presentations at the Doubletree Parking lot.

Big Sweet Billy in his motorcycle cat carrier. No, Billy wasn’t on the run with us but he does get to go for rides. One time Matt checked on Billy during a ride and he was batting a ball around while rolling.

Mathew II playing guitar before the accident.

Matt, Mathew and Big Sweet Billy.

Mathew II getting some fresh air.

Matt Conley on the Run for the Wall, 2024.

Billy the cat, a unique cat that follows Matt around like a dog.

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