Team RWB carries Old Glory across America


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Team Red White & Blue completed its’ first Old Glory Coast-to-Coast Relay Friday – carrying the American flag from San Francisco to Walter Reed Hospital Bethesda in less than 60 days with the flag being carried every mile.

The 3,800 mile relay that began on Sept. 11, would be a logistical nightmare for most organizations, but Team RWB is not a normal organization – with exception of its Tampa chapter, the rest of the 54,000 members are spread across the country in 120 cities without a brick and mortar location. They are used to communicating digitally and meeting up when and where they are needed.  This flexibility allowed 700 of its members to participate in the Olympic torch style relay without any major glitches.

Still, there were some spots in America’s heartland that didn’t have Team RWB members on hand. Volunteers flew out to those areas to carry Old Glory until they reached another chapter.

Team RWB board member Will Reynolds, a former U.S. Army infantry officer, who was wounded in Iraq carried the flag on the last leg to Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland – a hospital he knows well as he has undergone 25 surgeries there.

Mike Erwin, Team RWB founder and chairman of the board then presented the flag to Secretary of Veteran Affairs Bob McDonald.

“What you see before you embodies everything this organization is about, the eagle ethos, we are incredible proud and honored to present this flag to you as we conclude the Old Glory Coast to Coast relay,” Erwin said.

RWB Founder Mike Erwin passes Old Glory to VA Secretary Bob McDonald

RWB Founder Mike Erwin passes Old Glory to VA Secretary Bob McDonald

After receiving the flag, Secretary Bob McDonald addressed the eagle nation, “I’m deeply honored to accept this Old Glory from Red White & Blue …you ran three marathons a day to bring this flag here. As we approach Veterans Day I want to thank all of you for your service and I’m proud to be your Secretary of Veteran Affairs.”

Secretary McDonald said he will display the flag in his office until the team wants to run it back to the West Coast.

About the Flag

“After JJ Pinter told me about the coast-to-coast relay and expressed that he wanted a single RePatriot Flag to make the journey, I felt that the relay flag needed a background different from all other RePatriot Flags,” said Sam Russo, founder and managing director of RePatriot Flag.

The flag used for the relay was flown in a Blackhawk helicopter earlier this year on a training flight from Washington, DC to West Point, N.Y and back.  Along the way, the flag passed the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall, down the Hudson River to New York City where it passed ground zero, the Freedom Tower, and circled the Statue of Liberty.

“In selecting this particular training flight, the flag was exposed to many of the National Landmarks that have most significantly impacted our veteran community and families over the last decade, said Russo. “I have no doubt that the flag headed to Bob McDonald’s office is far and away the most patriotic and meaningful US Flag that one could ever possess.  IT has been an honor to be part of this project.”

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. CoachDJ    

    Dennis, http://www.teamrwb.org will have details soon but check it out now for all the other amazing stuff we do besides running!

  2. Danny    

    my fellow veterans,thank you all for realizing this is a special section of the blog set aside to show respect for the flag that we lovingly call OLD GLORY. With respect, I ask that we refrain from complaining about the VA & let this section show that we may have problems with the VA but not with Old Glory. I ask this with respect to you all.

  3. Danny    

    Thank You team red white and blue! I want you to know that I have a flag pole in my front yard, and every morning when I raise Old Glory, I stop, stand at attention, put my hand over my heart, and say the Pledge of Allegiance.I still get goosebumps almost every morning as I pay my respects to the flag that I and my brothers and sisters have served and defended some of them with their very lives!

  4. Al Jerry    

    Overwhelming!! The respect for old Glory ! congratulations to the Red, White and Blue !!!

  5. Dennis Mull    

    How do I get involved next time?

  6. Milan B. Lemmon    

    It is good to know that some people have respect for old glory and run it across our great county.

  7. CoachDJ    

    An amazing journey for Old Glory! A very fitting finish with Secretary McDonald! Honored to have been a part!

  8. UdornVet1970    

    Outstanding!!! My congratulations to the Red, White, and Blue!!!

  9. Ken crosby    

    Why is it so difficult to talk to a person at the va. Most va employees really could care less about us veterans. I was told that I should have anger management classes because I check often. I was also told at the Chicago regional office that the VA employees get paid twice a month and can budget their own money why can’t veterans

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