Board Member Ole represented MAMF at an organizational meeting on March 30 to plan the 2018 Run for the Fallen (RFTF) across New Mexico. George Lutz, a Gold Star father who created RFTF, told the dozen or so attendees that RFTF is to create a “comprehensive tribute trail across the country” to honor all service members who have been killed or who died in “the War on Terror” since October 12, 2000. That date he said, was the attack on the USS Cole, considered the very first assault on America in that war.
Next year’s Run will “start at Fort Erwin in California on April 7 and end at Arlington Cemetery on August 5.” He said it will pass through 19 states and cover 6,000 miles. “We’ll be in New Mexico about ten days, from May 11th to 20th,” he said. “The final version of the New Mexico stretch will go from Four Corners to Albuquerque then south and northeast enroute to Amarillo.
Runners will do ten miles a day, stopping every mile at a pre-placed “Heroes Marker” to come to attention to read names of the fallen and greet any Gold Star families who may be present at the Marker. After distributing flags, the runners will continue to the next Marker.
Lutz said the Run “is well timed. Runners need to be capable of an eight or nine-minute mile.” Each Marker will bear a sign indicating the date and time the runners will arrive.
“All this means,” he added, “that we have a lot of organizing to do.” What the Run requires is a state coordinator and volunteers who will manage each day’s activities. “There will be a need for meals, lodging, and for making contact with community members to let them know about the Markers and the ceremonies taking place.”
RFTF has a data base which tells the name and date of death of every service member since October 12, 2000, and relates that member to specific locations. Lutz said that adds up to about “20,000 Hero deaths and some 500 unique days of death.”
Daily needs are for 20 overnight rooms, meals for about 30 people, and coordination with law enforcement officials. RFTF provides two RVs, a paramedic, and a supply truck. Some communities may wish to add a chase car.
New Mexicans interested in volunteering for or in donating to Run for the Fallen can do so on the RFTF website – http://runforthefallen.org