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Central Route Coordinator Latest News 2017

July 30, 2016

Hi. My name is Dick “Winky” McKay, and it is my honor to have been appointed Central Route Coordinator for the 29th Run For The Wall in 2017. 

I served in the United States Army as an enlisted man from 1963 to 1967, a year of which I spent in Vietnam.

My first year with Run For The Wall was 2009, an experience I will never forget. Those experiences would bring me back year after year. I chose the Central Route because it came through Colorado where I live, and I’ve been a Central Route guy ever since. In 2009 and 2010, I rode with the Pack. In 2011, I decided that the Run had done so much for me I should give something back. I joined the Staging Team and served in that capacity for five years, the last two as Staging Leader. A year ago, Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme asked me to be his Assistant Route Coordinator for 2016. After giving it a great deal of thought, I accepted. This year has been an incredible learning experience, and I would like to thank Dave for all his guidance and support. RFTW 2016 was one of the best Runs I have experienced due, in no small part, to Dave’s meticulous planning. Dave will be returning as Mentor so I will be able to draw on his expertise during this year’s planning as well as during the Run itself.

I have asked Harlan Olson to be my Assistant Route Coordinator and he has graciously accepted. Harlan has been doing the Run since 2007 and has served as Assistant Platoon Leader, Platoon Leader, Staging Leader, and three years on the Board of Directors.

Our Leadership Teams will remain essentially intact for 2017 with only a few changes. After an exceptional Run this year, Tom Miller will return as Road Guard Captain, and Ken “Nick “ Nicholas will return as Tom’s assistant. The leadership for our other Support Teams--Staging, Fuel, Registration, Ambassadors, Chaplains, Leadership Support, Hydration, Merchandising, Last Man, and our Platoons Leadership--will remain much the same as last year.

We have had some long-time State Coordinators step down after years of service to the Run. Fortunately, they have had strong people to take over. Without our State Coordinators, Run for The Wall would have a very difficult time indeed. These folks work throughout the year to make sure our passage through their states goes smoothly. The meals, gas stops, LEO support, and favorable hotel rates are all handled by the State Coordinators. We owe them our gratitude. 

If you have ridden with the Central Route, you know about the relationship RFTW CR has with the students of Rainelle Elementary School of Rainelle, West Virginia. The recent floods did not damage the school, but many of the families lost everything. RFTW is raising money to buy the children winter coats. If you would care to donate, you can do it on the website, using your credit card, or you can make a check payable to:

        c/o Ken Ward, Treasurer
        1766 South Erie Hwy
        Hamilton, OH 45011

You may want to specify your donation in the Memo area of your check. 

Our next major event will be September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in Angel Fire, New Mexico. The David Westphall Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park walkways are lined with commemorative bricks. Every Labor Day weekend, RFTW arrives on Friday and spends Saturday laying all the bricks that have been purchased in the past year. After we finish laying the bricks, we have dinner at the Eagle Nest Senior Center. This will also present an opportunity to have a Q & A session with some of the RFTW Board members. The cost of the dinner is $20.00. Details for Angel Fire can be found on page 36 of the 2016 Itinerary. I would like to thank Steve Berniklau, our NM state Coordinator, and Freddie “Crash” Strickland for all the work they have done to ensure this year’s Angel Fire Reunion will be a great success.

I will be posting monthly updates throughout the year to keep everyone apprised of the progress of the planning for 2017. I will also be posting a Master Roster of all key personnel. 


Dick “Winky” McKay

“Never Forget”

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