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Into the Sunset…

…Welcome to my last post as President of RFTW..!

It has been a most interesting three years on the Board of Directors, ending with my final year as President. Over these years we as a BoD have striven to step back from the details and grasp the “50,000 foot view” of managing the corporation. We have had many insightful discussions, rambling phone calls, email strings that went on for days, and the occasional “Let’s try that again”. But, we kept pushing forward. We went through Bylaws revisions, Robert’s Rules of Order deliberations, insurance issues, SOP updates, drafting of new guidelines, selecting Route Coordinators, being sued, and countless other issues. But we kept pushing forward. And as I completed my final days on the BoD and contemplated where RFTW has been, and the group that is now leading it forward I thought to myself: They will keep pushing forward.

When I went on the Board I had more than one person tell me: “You’re going to lose a lot of friends”. When I took on the role of President I had more than one person tell me: “You’re going to lose a lot of friends”. As far I as know, I lost none - and may have gained a couple along the way. Leadership is about doing the best you can to serve. If you do your best that’s all you can do. And if you do it with mindfulness of your Mission and selflessness of ego you will generally do the right thing.

As I write this I want to Challenge the new BoD members to lead the corporation with mindfulness of Mission and selflessness of ego. Serve its needs so it in turn may serve its mission.

 

So NOW - I think it is time to go KSU and see some country. Wave if you see the Road Nymph and I along the way – the Ride is FAR from Over…

 

Fair Winds and Following Seas!!!

 

Greg “Pied Piper” Smith (Ok – sometimes Yoda)

 

 


 

 

Greetings RFTW!                                                                                                                                April 2016

 

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….

 

Ride Safe!

 

Greg “Pied Piper (sometimes Yoda)” Smith

 


 

 

Greetings RFTW!                                      January 2016

I hope you all had a joyous holiday season and your New Year is starting off Great!

As most of you know all plans for RFTW 2016 are well down the action path. Registration is open, hotels are set, fuel stops identified, leadership teams are being fine-tuned, and all over the country the RFTW Family is making plans to participate in some if not all of the activities. The Route Coordinators have been working diligently with their teams to create the best Mission Focused routes and supporting activities for several months, but now is when the old adage “the devil is in the details” comes into play!

A key part of each Route is the State Coordinator for each state. These are the key contact points for every fuel stop, lunch, breakfast, supper, school visit, memorial and hospital visitation, camping resource, hotel room block, and a myriad of other details. Their work for the next Run begins as we go through their area of responsibility the current year. Always keep in mind that they, like the rest of the leadership, are Volunteers. We all do our best but since nothing in Life is always perfect there are bound to be hiccups. Also keep in mind that when we arrive at a location we are not “business as usual” for many spots. When you are standing in line at some hotel, tired and ready for a hot shower after a long day on the Run and the line doesn’t seem to move - just take a breath. Imagine if YOU were at work and (even though you knew they were coming) 200+ people showed up at your counter/desk/door and all wanted service at the same time.

As we all begin preparations for May it would behoove us to remember the reason we ride: The Mission. 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 there are Those We Do Not Forget.

Ride Safe!

Greg “Pied Piper (sometimes Yoda)”

 

 

 


 

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.

 

 

 


 

Wish

 

Ken "WISH" Hargrove

 

MAY 7TH A WEEK AWAY---AND A WAKE UP.

MISSION FIRST

“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— six simple words with a very deep and wide meaning. You first-timers, or “FNG’s” as you will be known until reaching The Wall, should be prepared to laugh, to cry, to have your breath taken away and to be humbled.
“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride for the veteran who is unable to make the ride himself, when doing so we are responsible for carrying their need for healing cross-country to The Wall.
“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride for our fellow riders who are in need of healing and in need of support as they are welcomed home, many for the first time ever.

“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride to bring awareness of the POW/MIA issues and the thousands of our brethren who have yet to be brought back home and to shine a light on the government’s lack of attention to this solemn commitment to leave no one behind.
“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride out of respect and support for our current serving military who are in harm’s way and who are at the beck and call of our nation’s needs.

Sunday is mainly ’overhead’ meetings....and camraderie

Monday is leadership meetings, logistical coordination ........and camraderie

Tuesday is orientation, coordination, registration........and camraderie

Wednesday is EARLY- staging, ceremony and begin MISSION.......

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- APRIL 2015---UPDATE

Whoa!  30 days to kickstand up..

Take a minute and go over these “do’s” and “don’ts”:

DO be prepared to laugh, to cry, to have your breath taken away and to be humbled.
DO pack and re-pack your bikes at least twice over the next 4 weeks.
DO start hydrating NOW.
DO realize that there are volunteers ALL THE WAY across country who are anxiously awaiting and preparing for YOUR appearance and participation in the venues, honors and tributes that they have worked diligently to provide YOU. DO give them the RESPECT to partake and pay attention to THEM. Thank you’s are highly appreciated.
DON’T forget to ‘ride your ride’ be safe. Not only during, but ‘to’ and ‘from’ the Run…
DON’T be late to any scheduled event (such as morning meetings)
DON’T forget The Mission, this is not about YOU,this is about THEM

More DONTS:

-"No Politics"= means no political speeches, arguments or debates, doesn’t mean you cannot have a political point of view, we don’t want to know about it!
-"No Guns"= means no one ’displays’- we don’t want to see one, doesn’t mean you cannot have one!
-"No Attitudes"= if you don’t know what this means, you probably have one and need to check it at the door, doesn’t mean you cannot have an attitude, just means we don’t want to see it or hear it!

A note to any FORUM MEMBERS who may receive an ’anonymous’ email related to your participation on this Forum and Run. Yes, as others have identified we have an anonymous emailer who has been ’working’ our website for a couple of months now. He/she is an internet ’bottom-feeder’ who puts out garbage and then watches to see what effect/reaction it may have. This is a puppet-master sickness, attempting to demonstrate ’control’ to themselves.... probably does not live in a real world with any control over his/her surroundings. "Pull on a string here, watch the legs move there". I have been averaging a couple per week for months now.

Don’t let it bother you, that is the point.
Don’t attempt to reply to these emails, the anonymous re-mail program has no capability to get it back to them even if they wanted it. Which she doesn’t really want direct interaction, she wants to show control.

After you receive your first it will be easy to ID future one(s), look at it this way, if you haven’t received an email from her, she doesn’t think she can ’use’ you to react or act on her behalf. If you have got one from her, she is hoping to ’use’ your reaction to feed the need.
We have discussed blocking ALL email addresses from being shown between Forum members in an attempt to effectively block him/her, but have come down on the side of open communication for all members and are just ignoring this person with the illness.
I apologize for this interruption in the rider camaraderie/repartee and warn all to be aware the he/she will probably be around for a while watching for success in her/his actions.

 

IS IT MAY YET?

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MARCH 2015- UPDATE

66 DAYS TO KICK-OFF!

                        HERE IS THE ONTARIO ITINERARY

                                  SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2015
4:00 –5:30 pm BOD Executive Session- BOARDROOM -2015 RFTW BOD
6:00pm- 7:00pm BOD, RC’s, spouses Registration Meeting- REGISTRATION ROOMS SR/CR/MWR Registration                                       Teams- BOD, RC’s, ARC’s, RGC’s
7:00 –9:00 pm Route Leadership Registration ONLY REGISTRATION ROOMS-EAST ENTRANCE - SR/CR/MWR                                         Registration Teams


                                   MONDAY, MAY 11, 2015
8:00 – 9:00 am BOD/Route Leadership Briefing -Salon 1&2 BoD, RC’s
9:00 – 10:00 am Finance Orientation -Salon 1&2 Ward, Brammer, RC/ARCs, Registration/ICO Teams, Route                                        Finance Teams, Chase Drivers
10:00-11:00 am Merchandising Meeting -Salon 1&2 Brammer, MerchandiseTeams
1:00 - 7:00 pm All Routes Registration -REGISTRATION ROOMS- EAST ENTRANCE
1:00 - 7:00 pm All Merchandise Open -RADISSON FRONT Parking Lot Brammer, Merchandise Teams
1:00 –3:00 pm MWR Leadership Meeting -Salon 1&2 RC/ARC, Staging/Fuel/MOH/Chase Teams, Leadership                                      Support, Hydration, RGC
3:00 –5:00 pm CR Leadership Meeting -Salon 1&2 RC/ARC, Staging/Fuel/MOH/ Chase Teams, Leadership Support,                          Hydration, RGC
7:00 pm Registration & Merchandise -Close


                                    TUESDAY MAY 12, 2015
7:30 - 8:45 am Limited Registration (RNC Run)- REGISTRATION ROOMS EAST ENTRANCE
8:00 – 9:00 am BOD/Route Leadership Briefing- Salon 1&2 = Board, RC’s, McKee, Hargrove
8:30 am open Staging for RNC Run -REAR_ RADISSON Parking Lot. All wishing to Participate
9:00 am - 8:00 pm Merchandise Open (Closed from 5pm to 7pm)- RADISSON FRONT Parking Lot Brammer,                                       Merchandise Teams
9:00 am - 8:00 pm (Closed from 5pm to 7pm) All Routes Registration -REGISTRATION ROOMS- EAST ENTRANCE                              McKee, Hargrove
9:00 –11:00am SR Leadership Meeting- Salon 1&2 RC/ARC, Staging/Fuel/MOH/Chase Teams, Leadership Support,                        Hydration, RGC
9:11-9:30am Rider’s Meeting for RNC -Run Tennis Courts
11:00-12:00am ‘4-Wheeler’ meeting All Routes -Salon 1&2=Hargrove, Steelman, McKee/ RC’s
12:00pm-1:30pm CR FNG Orientation meetings -Salon 1&2=RC/ARC, RGC, Sr. Chaplin, Fuel Ldr, Staging Ldr,                                    Steelman
1:30pm-3:00pm MR FNG Orientation meetings -Salon 1&2=RC/ARC, RGC, Sr. Chaplin, Fuel Ldr, Staging Ldr,                                      Hargrove
3:00PM-4:00PM SR FNG Orientation meetings Salon 1&2=RC/ARC, RGC, Sr. Chaplin, Fuel Ldr, Staging Ldr, McKee
4:15 pm Blessing of the Bikes- RADISSON Parking Lot Chaplain Corps
4:30 pm Presentation of Kias- RADISSON Parking Lot Hargrove, Steelman, Wormmeester, Kia Reps
4:50 pm Presentations:- RADISSON Parking Lot
                           5:00 - 7:00 pm DINNER- Meet & Greet MAIN BALLROOM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              ALL RFTW RIDERS Welcome
5:45 pm Presentation of the Colors Marine Corps Color Guard- MAIN
BALLROOM
6:00 pm Presentation of Combat Hero’s Bike Build Project. MAIN BALLROOM
7:30 pm Interdenominational Prayer Time RADISSON Parking Lot Chaplain
Corps
8:00 pm Registration & Merchandise Close
===========================================================


                               WEDNESDAY MAY 13, 2015
                       DEPARTURE SCHEDULE
            ONTARIO CONVENTION CENTER Lot ‘D’
5:45 am Registration Opens
6:30 am Registration Closes
(Riders with clipboard “in hand” at 0630 may complete registration.)
6:45 am Riders’ Meeting led by Ken “Wish” Hargrove, President
7:20 am Riders Dismissed to Platoon Leader.
           Briefings at platoon staging areas.
                  15 minutes –Guaranteed!!!
              7:35 am Midway Route Departs
              7:50 am Southern Route Departs
              8:05 am Central Route Departs

 

FEBRUARY 2015 --UPDATE

It is just over 100 days until we begin our Mission for 2015. I want to welcome back our many RFTW-experienced riders. You are the glue and the safety net for our many FNG’s each year. You each have your reasons and needs for riding this Run, you each feel the responsibility and the healing and give support to each other, thank you! Those who will be riding with us for the first time this year...button down your collars, you are about to join one of the most sincere missions you can find in this commercial world.

“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— six simple words with a very deep and wide meaning. You first-timers, or “FNG’s” as you will be known until reaching The Wall, should be prepared to laugh, to cry, to have your breath taken away and to be humbled.
“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride for the veteran who is unable to make the ride himself, when doing so we are responsible for carrying their need for healing cross-country to The Wall.
“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride for our fellow riders who are in need of healing and in need of support as they are welcomed home, many for the first time ever.

“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride to bring awareness of the POW/MIA issues and the thousands of our brethren who have yet to be brought back home and to shine a light on the government’s lack of attention to this solemn commitment to leave no one behind.
“We Ride for Those Who Can’t”— we ride out of respect and support for our current serving military who are in harm’s way and who are at the beck and call of our nation’s needs.

This is a motorcycle ride. Our logistics are devised for and optimized for moving a couple of thousand motorcycles across this country in support of our Mission. That said, we also welcome four-wheeled supporters and veterans who need this healing and support our mission. In doing so we recognize that there are Mission supporters who cannot ride in our midst. Putting four wheels in close proximity with two wheels is a recipe for disaster. We go to great lengths to keep our motorcycle-cade safe from accidents and therefore will set in place some rules of the Run for four-wheel (cagers) interaction.

Basically, it is very important that any four-wheelers on the three routes(except official Chase vehicles) run 15 minutes ahead of us and should expect to meet up with us at the lunch and evening events. There are very few, if any, events at the in-between gas stops for the motorcycles. Fundamentally, motorcycles can run for two hours without needing refueling, while cagers can run for four to six hours without needing a gas station. PLEASE DO NOT USE THE SAME FUEL STOPS AS THE MOTORCYCLES. If you are on 4-wheels and do not have a GPS, invest in one, it is a couple of hundred bucks but will bail you out many times over as we cross this nation. And it will answer many of the questions posed to route leadership on a daily basis.


We will have a meeting in Ontario for all cagers that are not Merchandise trailers or Chase vehicles (you know who you are). It will be important for these drivers to understand the timing and coordination for their vehicles. All cagers are expected to be at the meeting and receive the modified itineraries for cagers at that meeting. It will be on the day before we leave Ontario and posted with the Ontario Itinerary in April.

Speaking of Ontario, the RFTW hotels are currently 60% booked. That means 40% are still available! Oh and Arlington, VA is NOT full! The Host Hotel is full, but there are several other RFTW-hotels which we use every year. Please go to your route’s tab (Central, Southern, Midway) on this website to get the latest information available. I understand that the RC videos are now up and that Southern’s Hotel list (COMPLETE) is up!

GET READY IT IS AROUND THE CORNER!

Wish

====================================

JANUARY 2015 --UPDATE

Happy New Year!

I am writing to communicate the latest info for the Kick-Off and Arrival Hotel Booking info.  

You can book your ONTARIO and ARLINGTON rooms NOW!

The Route Coordinators will communicate the Hotel lists for the routes (CENTRAL and MIDWAY already have- thanks Don and Billy!)

STONEY and CJ need to get theirs up yet, I believe they have targeted mid-Month for the full list!

Here is the ’all-riders’ booking info for Ontario and Arlington:

You can book your rooms now!!
As I see that only Central route has posted their Hotel lists as of Jan. 2nd..I would like to make sure that the Midway and Southern riders also have a fair shot at booking their hotels-- at least in Ontario (the kick-off) and Arlington (our target). I cannot control the info for each route’s hotels along the routes but I do have control of the rates and booking info for the launch and arrival locations. 

ONTARIO HOTELS-
There are 4 of them listed and The Radisson is the Host Hotel
All 4 hotels can be booked through a single weblink:click on the link, you can exit at anytime

            ONTARIO HOTEL BOOKING LINK

           there is also a single phone number for all 4 contracted hotels in Ontario if you wish to call instead:
             909-937-3026

ARLINGTON HOST HOTEL- HOLIDAY INN AT BALLSTON

Contact info for the Host Hotel is:
4610 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203
Phone:(703) 243-9800

 

Again, Happy New Year!

Wish

 

==================================================================================================

December 2014 – UPDATE

I have seen a flurry of activity through the website registration tab.  I believe we are approaching the two hundred pre-registered mark and it isn’t even Mid-December yet!! I believe I can assure everyone that the online pre-registration is OPEN.

Let’s check ‘em off together:

       Ontario Host Hotel communicated- ONTARIO RADISSON AIRPORT, Ontario, CA.

       Ontario Launch site chosen and Hotels SELECTED,

       Arlington National Cemetery Authorization OBTAINED,

       Route Coordinator’s 2015 messages UPDATED,

       2014/2015 Store OPEN,

       Route Coordinator’s leadership teams ASSEMBLED,

       Pre-registration OPEN,

                            Do Not attempt to book a room until central-booking Phone number is announced on line through itineraries and Post.

 

        Arlington HOST Hotel communicated – HOLIDAY INN-BALLSTON, Arlington, VA.

       ‘Itineraries’ Posted---not yet, should be by New Year, Jan.1, 2015 (oops!)      

        Route ‘Contacts’ all Posted –Central, ; Southern, ; Midway, not yet (oops!)

Moving along, we expect the last wrinkles and details to all flush out over the next couple of weeks.  The signs and hats and patches and lanyards and windshield banners and, and, and, are all on order.  New 2015 Flyers, new promotional video and new products for the store are in various levels of completion and coming shortly.  The hotels along each route have been selected, the gas stops on each route have all been selected, and negotiated with for RFTW rates.  Your Platoon Leaders have been contacted, your advance teams are forming with fuelers and stagers and such, your Road Guards are re-cert’ing their skills and you Riders.............?

Let’s review the Rider’s checklist:

  1.        Your riding skills? Get ‘em ready
  2.        Your Bike’s maintenance? Get it in shape
  3.        Your travel gear? Pack and re-pack
  4.        Your health? Biker UP! Cuz it will be;
  5.        Hot
  6.       Cold
  7.        Wet
  8.       Long
  9.       Emotional

What? It’s 140 days to Kickstands up?   ...You mean its ONLY 140 days to kickstands up! It seems too far away and then it seems to be coming too quickly, just like Christmas.

Oh yeah!  Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to RFTW and supporters!  And Happy New Year,

Remember our Mission and those whom we represent.  God Bless our military and especially be with those who cannot be home during these Holidays.

 

WISH

====================================================================================================

 OCTOBER 2014

Almost feel panic as every week goes by, as every month goes by.

Almost feel elation as the mental countdown clock tics away towards another Run drawing near.

‘Elation’ as the Mission beckons and ‘Panic’ as I realize the magnitude of what we are about to pull off and I watch all of the flurry of activity going on behind the scenes by Route Coordinators, Road Guard Captains, Advance team Captains, Platoon leadership, state coordinators, fundraising event organizers, Hotel negotiations, meal coordination, gas stop coordination, LEO communication and coordination and rider communications.

“Stoney” (Southern Route RC)"EZ" (Central Route RC) and "Tumbleweed” (Midway Route RC) are marshaling their resources, engaging their leadership teams and orchestrating the beginnings of RFTW 2015.  Our Arlington National Cemetery interaction is once again assured for 2015 (thanks “Road King”).  The major metropolitan areas we traverse are well into the planning stages and step-by-step choreography (bet you never thought you’d see “Stoney’s” name in the same paragraph with ‘choreography’!).

I am impressed each year by the riders that ‘step-up’ when needed and ‘step-forward’ when asked.  Thank you!

Our California launch will take a slightly different turn this year, sort of ‘back to the future’; prior to kicking off out of Rancho Cucamonga (RC) back in 2008, we launched for many years out of Ontario, CA (right next door to RC).  Well, as we have experienced over the past few years, we have outgrown the capability of RC hotels to handle such a large group as RFTW.

Our Mission 2015 will once again begin in Ontario, CA- we will have a significantly larger host hotel (with better rates) with adjacent alternative hotels (with better rates).  The Radisson Hotel Ontario Airport will be our new host hotel and we have contracts with 4 other hotels all within a click of the host.  The Ontario Convention Center and Visitors Bureau will handle all reservations for the 5 contracted hotels all with one single phone number, to be posted. 

We will have over 600 parking spaces at our beck and call at The Radisson alone and we will sleep less than 100 yards from the Wednesday morning Kick-off staging area at the Ontario Convention Center, which is three times the size of our staging area these past 7 years.  Tuesday night’s RFTW-Kick-off-dinner will be hosted onsite at the Radisson and INSIDE. Even better, the main-drag from KSU on Wednesday morning is a direct merge onto the freeway.  FNG’s probably cannot appreciate this yet, but…you will!

Now, the main questions I continually get asked:

  1.        Run Hotel lists will not go up until the New Year, the negotiated rates are significant so please don’t try to book outside of the RFTW published window (I know some of you do!) you’ll miss out on significant savings…
  2.        RFTW Registration opens at the same time as every year, January 1st  -- no, we are not behind, it just feels that way since we (all y’all)are ready to roll again the day after we get back!

Support The Mission, Support your Route Coordinator, Take the time to engage others and talk about The Run and if you can, volunteer to be a resource for your Route as well as a Rider for The Mission.  Attend any local RFTW rider support groups and encourage our FNG’s.

If you are in Route leadership already, get your RC to post up contact info on the website so that you can be helped!!

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Wish

 

===========================================================================================================

August 2014

Ken “Wish” Hargrove

I am honored to be selected as President for this next year, I am committed to our Mission and the success of this year’s Run, just as I have been committed to the success of every Run since my first year in 2007. What do I bring to the table? A lot of two-wheeled Run miles; ATW SR- 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, ATW MR- 2014 and Participant CR-2008.

You might ask what happened to All The Way in 2008? Well, as my wife always says, every great story starts with “No $#!+, there I was…”.  Well “No $#!+, there we were…” putting some pre-run break-in miles on our new rides, the week before RFTW 2008.  Next thing we knew her bike flips at 65mph on I-10 and she is in a body cast for the next 9 months.  It was all I could do to register and ride to the first gas stop that year.

Since then I’ve volunteered as Tailgunner for 2 years, Platoon Leader 1 year, Road Guard for 3 years and on the Board of Directors as Secretary/Treasurer for the past 2 years. Why do I ride?  Why do we all? I have buddies and family and friends on the Wall.  I spent 2 tours in Nam from late 1968 through most of 1970.  I have trouble even approaching The Wall.  Going with RFTW support eases the approach.  I see, hear and feel them as I get closer. Thank you, Brothers and Sisters.

I am committed to the POW/MIA Awareness campaign that we all wage, I honor our currently serving military at every chance and I am involved in Veteran’s events where I am able. Along with my RFTW Mission commitments, I serve as 1st Vice Commander of my local American Legion, Post 78 in Claremont, CA. I’m a Member of the local Marine Corps League, Detachment 965.  I’m a Life Member of DAV I’m also Chair of the Claremont High School Veteran’s Alumni Committee, where I diligently uncover and archive, 113 years of Alumni veterans.

I have 4 kids and 13 grandkids. The 2 oldest of my grandkids have been on the Run, 1 of them All The Way.  The younger ones are already planning their ‘turns’ to accompany Grandpa. We make it an honor for them to be able to go.  They need to ‘qualify’ to ride with this crusty crew.  They had to run military donation drives, send packages to the troops, write essays on American Flag protocol and write reports on the Congressional Medal of Honor.  One of them wrote a detailed summary of my wife’s favorite CMOH recipient’s life.  All ‘graded’ by my wife, who has now rehabbed enough so that she was able to ride All The Way finally this past year.

What do I think we need to focus on for 2015? Maximize our profile as we cross this country.  We have started some great relationships with a couple of National Corporations, KIA and Pepsi. Each route has some highly visible events and some deeply personal interactions with their supporters along the way.  I still come across people that have never heard of us, we need to harness these lost opportunities. It is a particular shame when I come across the many veterans that do not know that we are even out there. That veteran very likely has a need that we can meet, a cross we can help him/her bear, a ‘Welcome Home’ that can make a world of difference and if they don’t have a need at least they can pass along awareness of our Mission and be given a chance to participate.

I am looking forward to working with a highly capable and motivated Board for 2014/2015. There are many challenges in front of us to insure RFTW 2015 is as good or even better than every Run for the past 26 years, not the least of which is to better organize our Rancho kick-off venue.  The Route Coordinators, Assistant Route Coordinators and Road Guard Captains are the core leadership of each Route for which the Route Coordinator is the General.  It is our responsibility to make sure that we give these Generals the resources they need to make it happen.

Support The Mission, Support your Route Coordinator, Take the time to engage others and talk about The Run and if you can, volunteer to be a resource for your Route as well as a Rider for The Mission. I look forward to working with you in this coming year.

...I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the kick-off in California this year.  We had to react on short notice this past year, to a surprise by the past host hotel(s) not being able to participate in 2014.  We will be going ’back to the future’ in 2015 as we launch out of Ontario, California as RFTW had for many years until 2008.  I’ll be making a separate announcement in the October newsletter, which will be mirrored here, about the new venue.

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Wish

 

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