May 16, 2017

Veterans’ Motorcycle Event Routes Through Tennessee

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With event partnerships spanning from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company to the American Motorcycle Association, Cookeville, the hub city of the Upper Cumberland region, has developed a reputation as a hub for motorcycling. Cookeville will continue to build its motorcycling reputation, as veterans’ motorcycle event “Run For the Wall” returns for a fourth consecutive year 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday afternoon, May 22 down Jefferson Avenue, escorted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Cookeville Police Department, and Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.
With a tagline of “Riding For Those Who Can’t,” the cross-country event has a mission to call attention to prisoners-of-war and those missing-in-action, to honor those killed-in-action from all wars; and to support all United States military personnel around the globe.
The 10-day journey beginning in Los Angeles, California and ending on Memorial Day in Washington, DC at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall and Arlington National Cemetery is both emotionally and physically demanding.
Serving as the only overnight stop in Tennessee, Cookeville will welcome the procession of more than 300 riders down the street as residents bring their smiling faces and waving American flags; a sight that brings many of the riders to tears.
In addition to drawing awareness for POWs, MIAs, and KIAs, RFTW seeks opportunities along the route to educate future generations and serves as emotional healing for veterans riding the route and those encountered along the way suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, especially those from the Vietnam era.
The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, city and county officials, local veterans’ service organizations, and Boswell’s Country Roads Harley-Davidson join area residents and businesses to provide a “Welcome” that many of the riders never received when returning home from war.
“Our community comes together each year to welcome these special guests to Cookeville and Putnam County,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development. “The local support and excitement for this impactful event only builds with each year. We are humbled to be a part of such a significant event.”
“It is with great pride that we have the privilege to serve as the only overnight stop in Tennessee for these riders and to be considered one of their favorite stops on this national route,” added Ledbetter.
“There is always one city that stands out,” said James “Gunny” Gregory, RFTW founder. “Cookeville is obviously that city for the Midway Route. This community’s hospitality is one I know remains in each of our hearts throughout the year, and only grows with each year we return.”
After a private dinner and meeting at the Leslie Town Centre, riders will rest at area hotels. On Tuesday morning, riders will stage at 7:30 a.m. CT in the Sam’s Club parking lot to continue their 10-day journey. Area residents are again encouraged to join the group to wave goodbye and wish them safe travels as they continue their mission.