Wichita Falls – Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

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This gallery contains 60 photos.

Thanks to Terry Ryan and the Facebook page for Wichita Falls for these photos. So many good people help further the Sea2Sea Foundation. We appreciate all efforts. Thanks so much to everyone who attended the Sea to Sea ceremony to honor fallen heroes from Texas who gave their lives in … Continue reading

Cycling sea to sea for vets

View the original article on TimesRecordNews.com

 

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TORIN HALSEY/TIMES RECORD NEWS Tom von Kaenel visits with supporters Friday afternoon at Memorial Auditorium before a presentation of his Sea2Sea.org project in which he is riding a bicycle 6,600 miles from South Carolina to Key West, Fla., all the way up to Juneau, Alaska. Along the way, von Kaenel brings attention to veterans’ issues and reads the names of each state’s military casualties from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. See the video on timesrecordnews.com

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3rd week – Key West to Ocala

Apologies for the tardiness of this blog.  Here were the highlights of the 3rd week.

Monday – Mar 18 – Key West to Tavenier – a long ride over a lot of water, no shoulders, brilliant sunshine, a 7-mile bridge and a strong headwind, glad to be getting close to the mainland.

Tuesday – Mar 19 – Tavenier t0 Tamiami (Miccosukee Casino) – moving from urban area to completely flat terrain, dull overcast morning burning off to a warm bright day.  Finding the Casino was a godsend!  All you could eat buffet was very welcomed.

Wednesday – Mar 20 – Tamiami to Clewiston – moving north about 80 miles with only one gas station along the way.  Key lesson learned:  carry a minimum of 4 quarts of water/sports drinks if you go over 40 miles!  Had a super Cuban supper in Clewiston.

Thursday – Mar 21 – Clewiston t0 Sebring – another hot day going up the center of Florida.  Sebring was a welcome stop at about 2:00 pm – having an early supper listening to the senior citizens at the local diner was the evening’s entertainment.

Friday – Mar 22 – Sebring to Minneola – 89 miles!  Long day made longer by an hour & 15 minutes delay in check in due to computer glitches, but it was countered by eating at the Honey Hive restaurant – all you could eat fish supper.

Sat – Mar 23 – Minneola to Ocala – made it into Ocala by midday, sat in the hotel lobby until the room was ready, then walking down to the local Winn Dixie for provisions.  Rest day – Sunday – was also in Ocala.

 

Special ceremony commemorates La. soldiers

Special ceremony commemorates La. soldiers

April 10, 2014 Bonnie Culverhouse
louisiana
For 58-year-old Tom von Kaenel, a retired American soldier living in Six Mile, S. C., the best way to honor his fallen comrades is a challenge – a Sea2Sea Challenge
The U.S. Army veteran is bicycling from Florida to Alaska and stopped in Academy Park Wednesday to hold a ceremony remembering those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Coast to Coast Bike Ride for Veterans Stops in Clinton

Coast to Coast Bike Ride for Veterans Stops in Clinton

Link to Original Article

Route followed by cyclist raising awareness for needs of our country’s veterans, 2014 Sea2Sea Cycling Challenge.

Clintonians were invited to meet a special visitor Saturday afternoon during a brief stop in Clinton before continuing a coast to coast journey by bicycle to Alaska.  Sea2Sea is a US Military non-profit organization founded in 2012. Its purpose is to “Give Back to Those Who Served”, specifically highlighting the sacrifices that US service members, veterans, and their families have made since 9/11, and turning this awareness into action to benefit them.


Tom von Kaenel cycling through Clinton MS

Tom von Kaenel was cycling through Mississippi on Saturday, April 5th and made a stop in Clinton to hold a memorial ceremony and rest up before continuing on his journey.

The 2014 Sea2Sea Cycling Challenge began in Clemson, South Carolina on March 1st and will end at Juneau, Alaska on or about July 4th. The approximate route is shown above.


Sea2Sea’s Tom von Kaenel led a memorial ceremony
for fallen soldiers

The public was invited to join Sea2Sea’s von Kaenel at the Fallen Comrade sculpture memorial at the Clinton Visitor Center for a brief memorial ceremony where he and those in attendance and read names of those who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Visitor Center is located at 1300 Pinehaven Road, Clinton, MS (near Natchez Trace milepost 89).


Following the Memorial ceremony April 5 2014 in Clinton MS.
Left to right: Tom von Kaenel, Marsha Barham, Alderman
William O. Bill Barnett, David Haddock, Mayor Phil Fisher

Sea2Sea has two goals:
1) To remember those who are no longer with us We are starting a long range program to establish an Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial in each US State listing the names of those who gave their lives for us in these conflicts, with the eventual goal of a national Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial in Washington, DC. We feel that it is important to list the names at a memorial in each US State so that we have an enduring memorial of their sacrifice.
2) To continue to help those they left behind Partnering with selected 501(c)3 organizations (for example, Wounded Warrior Project, Upstate Warrior Solutions, American Gold Star Mothers, Gold Star Wives) across the country, we will continue to highlight the challenges the service members, veterans, and their families face and how all of us can help. Specifically we will be requesting that people devote any of the three T’s (their time, talent, or treasure) to the highlighted charities that we are partnering. Although financial aid is always welcome, volunteering for some of these organizations are the most useful for both the volunteer and the recipient.

Learn more at:  www.sea2sea.org   Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sea2sea1


Fallen Comrade memorial at the Clinton Visitor Center
Sculptor: Dr. Samuel Gore

Man riding cross country for fallen vets stops in Montgomery

Man riding cross country for fallen vets stops in Montgomery.

Link to original article: http://archive.montgomeryadvertiser.com/videonetwork/3416117119001/Man-riding-cross-country-for-fallen-vets-stops-in-Montgomery-

Tom von Kaenel reads names as he holds a memorial service for Alabamians Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during his stop in Montgomery, Ala. on Monday March 31, 2014 during his Sea2Sea cross country bike ride.

 

2nd week – Davie, FL

I’m finding that as I’m on this journey, particular things tend to dominate:  the weather, the terrain, the scenery, the desire to get as far as possible as quickly as possible, the destination, and so on.

But with the 2nd week of my journey, it’s the people of Davie, FL.  All of these folks are unique in their own right, with specific talents & gifts, but the folks that I want to focus on are the people that are making the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation a positive force to save and transform people’s lives.

Janos Lutz was a Marine Lance Corporal who served his country in both Iraq and Afghanistan, suffered from Post Traumatic Stress, and took his own life on January 12, 2013.

If I had suffered devastating turn of events, I would have difficulty in coping with day to day events for a very, very long time.  However, his mother, Janine Lutz, possesses the positive grit & determination to transform this deeply personal tragedy into a inclusive, life-affirming force to help others in similar situations.

Although Janine and her Foundation have several goals, two particularly resonated with me.

The first is about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Janine immediately points out that it is important to drop the word ‘Disorder’ from this phrase, and with good reason.  It helps no one to keep reiterating and internalizing a ‘disorder’; it actually furthers to stigmatize and disempower the person with the condition.  Janine prefers to use the term, Post Traumatic Stress Growth, which I think is a true game changer, which focuses on growth.  The key is to grow through all experiences (both positive & negative) and emerge a stronger, more resilient individual than before.  What a great concept!

The second objective is to stop veteran suicide.  Not reduce, not decrease – TO STOP.  Wow!  Talk about a SMART goal.  By SMART I mean (Stupendous, Momentous, Awesome, Revolutionary, & Transformational).  It sets a high standard and this standard deserves to be set at this level.  If there has ever been a goal worthy of a “zero-defect”, this has to be one of them.

Janine & her team are using a Buddy Up Program to identify veterans from Iraq & Afghanistan and pair them up with other veterans that have similar experiences with tools and assistance that can be downloaded from her website, http://lcpllutzlivetotell.org/

Not only did Janine open her house to me for three days, she and her team also planned, prepared, and conducted a deeply emotional & touching memorial  ceremony at the town hall of Davie on March 14 that I will remember for a very long time, with the Mayor, Council Members, the Leathernecks, and local citizens – in a phrase – very, very moving.

Then, as icing on the cake, arranging to be hosted at a VIP suite at the Florida Panthers Ice Hockey Game that night where I was honored and humbled to be recognized for what we are all trying to do – Giving Back To Those Who Have Served.

So to Janine and her Team – Andrew, Angel, Collos, Rene, Shep, & Terry, my thanks to you all – ordinary people doing extraordinary things and in the process, thus becoming extraordinary in their own right.

North to Alaska!

 

 

 

In short the goal is simple – Never forget. Guest Blogger, Terry Ryan

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Last week, I was a visitor to Davie, Florida from Pennsylvania. I traveled there to visit my friend Janine Lutz, a Davie resident, and founder of the LCpl Janos V. Lutz Live To Tell Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to “Stop Veteran Suicide”, by raising awareness of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), and promoting Post Traumatic Growth through community based services, like the newly launched “Buddy Up Program”. She has spearheaded and quickly mobilized these organizations in honor of her son, LCpl Janos V. Lutz who took his life, 12 Jan 2013, after enduring PTS upon returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

suiteDuring my visit, Janine told me she would be hosting a bicyclist, Tom, who was riding 6600 miles from South Carolina, to Key West, over to the Gulf Coast, and then on to Alaska for the Sea2Sea organization – “Giving Back to Those Who Served”. Wow – sounds amazing! But I didn’t know how amazing until I met Tom. He is Tom von Kaenel, retired Army veteran, cycling alone, without a support vehicle, on this self-supporting journey. But he downplays his efforts and instead asks us to focus on the two goals of the Sea2Sea 2014 Challenge:

1) To remember those who are no longer with us. It is our vision to establish a long range program to establish an Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial in each US State listing the names of those who gave their lives for us in these conflicts, with the eventual goal of a national Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial in Washington, DC.

In short the goal is simple – Never forget.

2) To continue to help those that they left behind. Partnering with selected 501(c)3 organizations across the country (for example, LCpl Lutz Live To Tell, Purple Heart Homes, Wounded Warrior Project, Upstate Warrior Solution, Augusta Warrior Project, JD-3), we will continue to highlight the challenges that service members, veterans, and their families face and how all of us can help.”

I had the honor to attend the Sea2Sea/LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation Memorial Ceremony, hosted by the Town of Davie on Friday, March 14, 2014. Tom led a Remember, Recognize, and Rejoice ceremony during which the names of 345 Florida military service members who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, were read simultaneously by the audience. The chaos of sound reminded all of us that the conflict, the suffering, and the return is not neat and tidy, and the wars’ effects ripple far and wide.

I am most fortunate to have spent time with Tom and Janine. Their passion and dedication to honor and help heal the veteran community is inspiring, and I urge you to look at their websites (sea2sea.org, lcpllutzlivetotell.org), and consider what you can do, small or large, to get involved.

And I hope that if Tom’s route passes through your community that you welcome him and consider hosting him for an evening’s rest as he cycles from city to city/town to town on his way to Alaska. I guarantee you’ll enjoy meeting him.

Sincerely,

Terry Ryan