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Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – October

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Over one-hundred RFTW participants gathered in Kerrville, Texas September 23 – 26, for the annual Texas Riders Reunion. Attendees enjoyed gorgeous rides to Luckenbach, and riding the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a ride roughly a hundred miles long, encompasses Farm Roads 335/336/337. The ride is known for its sharp turns, steep climbs, deep valleys and scenic views. The route passes through the “hilliest” of the Texas Hill Country. Many riders have the t-shirt to prove they rode the Three Sisters.

The Texas Riders Reunion provides riders’ opportunities to visit with fellow riders, without the hectic pace of the run. It also provides time for face-to-face planning meetings for the 2023 run. Thank you to those riders that have accepted new positions or that have agreed to stay on in previous positions.

A group of unsung heroes on the run are the advance team which encompass the staging team and fuel team. These two groups are up early, getting bikes staged in platoon order and facilitating the fueling of 300 motorcycles in record time. This year we have a new Advance Team Lead, Ken “Tumbler” Gigliotti. We also have a new Fuel Team Lead, Rick “Speedbump” Shoaf and returning this year, Staging Team Lead, Steve “Dragon” Edmonds. Thank you for stepping up to serve in these important roles.

We need volunteers! Both the fuel team and staging team are looking for a few good riders to join their teams!
If you have not filled out a volunteer form, please do so today. Volunteer Here

The prepaid fuel option outlined in last month’s newsletter was presented at the Kerrville Reunion and was well received. Many riders are planning on taking advantage of this option to simplify and expedite fuel stops. I am sorry to report, the paying online option is not possible at this time, maybe next year. Pre-paid fuel payments will be accepted in Ontario when you check-in at the host hotel.


Did you know we have a Southern Route 2023 Run t-shirt?
The sale of the shirts will aid in paying for run expenses and will help build our Run community, Route loyalty and pride in each other for spending ten days doing something hard to support what we believe in.

When a team of proud, dedicated
individuals make a commitment
to act as one, the sky is the limit.

The sky is the limit for the 2023 Southern Route – Run for the Wall. We are hoping to touch more veterans with the healing message of the run, to touch more community members, to make them aware of the needs of our veterans and active-duty military. To spread the message of the run and to more fully, REMEMBER THE MISSION.
We are asking all registered riders to wear one of the six, 2023 Southern Route t-shirt on day 1, May 17, when we depart Ontario.
There are six shirt options, 3 men and 3 women, red, gray and navy blue.
Shirts can be ordered through the following link. Don’t wait sales end October 27. Shirts will be mailed to your home address the first week of November.

Order RTM Shirt here

A Little History…

Do you ever look up the history on something you lived through? I did that today, just to see what the internet had to say about POW/MIAs. I felt The History website would be the most factual.  I found it interesting to read the beginning of the POW/MIA flag and National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing Organization.
I hope you find this interesting and that it reaffirms Why You ride with Run for the Wall.

The Paris Peace Accords marking the end of the Vietnam War were signed on January 27, 1973. The U.S. agreed to withdraw all of its troops and dismantle American bases in exchange for the release all U.S. prisoners of war held by the North Vietnamese. That February, Operation Homecomingaired on American television showing the release of American POWs from North Vietnamese prison camps. By March 29, 1973, 591 soldiers would be returned and President Richard Nixon announced, “For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POWs are on their way home.” At the time, 1,303 Americans were still unaccounted for.

Over the years, rumors about men left behind and discrepancies in the number of missing vs. the number of returned outraged MIA families—as did reports of the mishandling and misidentification of American remains. Action films like 1983’s Uncommon Valor and Rambo: First Blood Part II(1985) fictionalized attempts at rescuing living soldiers from captivity in Vietnam.

Sybil Stockdale was determined to bring her husband, Vice Adm. James Stockdale, home from the infamous Hoa Lo Prison—also known as the “Hanoi Hilton” where Senator John McCain was held. She joined with other families of MIAs to form The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, a non-profit incorporated in May of 1970 with the mission “to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving our nation during the Vietnam War.”

“The greatest motivation for all of these families is uncertainty,” says Ann Mills-Griffiths, chairman of the board & CEO of the National League of POW/MIA Families. “Uncertainty is a killer. It is a great motivator to get you engaged…It’s better to find out what happened to the missing than to endlessly stay in a state of uncertainty and frustration that you can’t do anything about it,” she said. “The families were desperate, there was so much misinformation going around. Nobody wanted to talk about the veterans who had been ignored.”
Read more about POW/MIA Flag & Movement

This is why I ride, for those who can’t and for the families that still seek answers.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Route Coordinator
Southern Route

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