April. The clock is ticking. Are you ready? No, I mean Really Ready?
All over the country the RFTW Family is “Getting Ready to Get Ready.” I would like to take this opportunity to challenge You to take a hard look at Your readiness. To participate in the 10 day journey across our great country you need degrees of Determination AND Preparation. The Route Coordinators and their teams have created excellent Mission Focused routes and supporting activities but you have to do your part too.
It is pretty obvious that if you are riding your bike or trike has to be as mechanically sound as possible before you leave. If you do your own mechanic work have you taken the time to do a detailed check on everything? If you take your ride to the shop did you tell them about what you are going to do and ask them to take that extra little bit of time to poke, prod and look at your ride? Have your insurance papers? State Inspection good? Registration up to date? Have you done a test pack yet? Does everything fit SECURELY when you’re loaded to roll out? Have you ridden a few miles fully loaded as you would be when in a platoon rolling down the highway?
Are you Physically Ready? Have you been riding more? Brushed up on those skills that may have become a little rusty over the winter? We all have aches and pains but the better you prepare the better the daily ride will be for you. Are you carrying a passenger? Are THEY prepared to sit on that back seat hour after hour, day after day? Riding for 6 to 8 hours a day, day after day, in weather that could be sunny and 100 degrees plus or rain and freezing temps is a different animal from the HOG Chapter lunch ride or a poker run. There will be times when it is a grind — not fun or pretty. That is when you have to remember that it is a Mission – we Push On.
As we all get ready for next month’s Mission it would behoove us to remember the reason we ride: “For Those Who Can’t.” We are all ambassadors of not only ourselves and RFTW, but most importantly the message of Why We Ride. The message that there are those that did not come home. The message that We Will Not Forget…
Greg “Pied Piper (sometimes Yoda)” Smith
Greetings RFTW Riders and Friends!
Well, here we are well down the path to 2016 Runs! The Route Coordinators have been hard at work arranging their teams to create Safe, Healing, and Mission-Aligned Runs along the three Routes.
The RFTW Board or Directors has been meeting regularly (both in person and via monthly conference calls) to assist the Route Coordinators as needed, and to conduct the affairs of the corporation. We on the BoD often receive questions or comments on things that that we should change about the different Routes to make them Safer, Better, etc. Sometimes these issues are event-driven and sometimes they are process driven. To give you all a little insight I am going to share some of how RFTW works.
As many of you know, RFTW, Inc., the corporation, is a 501 c-3 non- profit. As such it is governed by its Bylaws relative to conducting its business affairs in alignment with its mission statement. However, the Bylaws do not specifically cover the operations of the annual Run For The Wall Event. This is covered by the Standard Operating Procedures. This is a control document that outlines the framework of much of how the annual event will be conducted. I say “much” because there has to be some degree of leeway for the cultures of the different Routes, and for the Route Coordinators to actually manage their respective Routes. To assist in the efforts there are also Guidelines for some of the Leadership Team positions such as State Coordinators, Road Guards, etc. When the BoD reviews the After Action Reports (AARs) post-Run each year we look for discrepancies between the SOPs, the Guidelines, and the events described in the AARs. If the SOPs or Guidelines are not covering a situation described in an AAR that they could reasonably be expected to affect, we take action to revise the appropriate document. If the AAR describes a situation that was driven by events “in the moment” we use the AAR as a “Teaching Tool” to share with the next Route Coordinators so they can plan for contingencies if the same or a similar event occurs again. The BoD takes the AARs very seriously. These are our windows to things that we can’t be there to see. As such they are an important part of concluding the business of each year’s events and are a line item on the agenda for both our face-to-face meetings and our conference calls.
To close this particular posting: We are always interested in hearing the thoughts, ideas, and concerns of the participants each year. All of the BoD members are listed on the web page with our contact info. If you have something to say we would like to hear it. Just remember that Communication is between a Sender and a Receiver, and the roles constantly reverse as dialog continues. Reach out to us, but make sure we can contact you in return. You may have emailed a Fine idea but we need more of your thoughts to get the full picture. Make sure we can reach you – include a valid email address and/or phone number!!
Thanks and Ride Safe!
Greg “Pied Piper” Smith
President 2015-2016 RFTW, Inc.