LCpl Lutz Live To Tell Foundation Recognizes Sea2Sea.org w/reception in Davie, FL -YouTube Video

LCpl Lutz Live To Tell Foundation Recognizes Sea2Sea.org w/reception in Davie, FL

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Lutz Live to Tell, Davie, FL – Guest Blogger Michelle Coleman

22+ Veterans are losing their lives as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress every day.  More are lost here at home than on the battlefield and the worst part is that it is preventable.   Every day here at the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation, Inc.  we are posed with the question “Well, what can I do to help?”  Our immediate reply is “Spread the word!” Some pass out flyers, others share our post on social media, and then there is Tom Von Kaenel with Sea2Sea Inc.Chase Vehicle

Tom is riding 6600 miles from South Carolina down to the Florida Keys, and all the back up to Alaska to raise awareness for fallen servicemen & women.  His Florida trail has been dedicated to raising awareness to those lost from Post-Traumatic Stress and what can be done to prevent this epidemic from spreading.  The Lutz Live To Tell Foundation had the pleasure of trailing Tom from St. Augustine, FL to Davie, Fl where he was met with a welcome reception courtesy of the Mayor Judy Paul & the Town of Davie, FL.

Here Tom performed a wonderfully moving Remember, Recognize, & Rejoice Ceremony.  Tom Speech 3Local media outlets covering the event were so impressed by Tom’s ceremony that they published the cover story & photos less than 2 hours after the event.  Immediately following the Davie reception Tom was whisked away to the Florida Panther’s game where he was requested by Rick Case Automotive to be honored on the ice for the work he is doing across the nation.  Everyone that has met Tom and learned of his 2014 challenge have wanted nothing more but to help and contribute to his cause.


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The local Leathernecks motorcycle chapter attended the Davie reception and just had to be involved.  Leathernecks check presentThey are going to be making contact with Tom across the nation in various cities to help where needed. What shocked people the most is that Tom does not take any money for his awareness campaign.  Facial expressions tuned to admiration as he said that he just welcomes a hot meal and a place to sleep.  Which in turn inspired those listening to want to help more.

That night and well into the next morning the Lutz Live To Tell Foundation’s social media sites were on fire with excitement.  Tom & Sea2Sea have provided the opportunity to spread the word about the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation’s efforts to turn Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth in order to save our veteran’s lives.

@PTSDride – Twitter

Lutz Live to Tell Facebook Page – LCplLutzLiveToTell

Our Lutz Live To Tell Buddy Up program is offered for FREE on our website www.LCplLutzLiveToTell.org and provides an outline on how to locate and pair up veterans in your local community so Live To Tellthat they can have each other’s backs here at home like they did on the battlefield.  Included, is a family system that assist family members in dealing with returning veterans managing their PTS.

The Lutz Live To Tell Foundation is honored to have met and worked with Tom & Sea2Sea these past few days.  We encourage everyone to follow Tom for the next few months as he travels across the nation up to Alaska.  We look forward to seeing where he will set his next anchor and the amazing feats he will reach.

Good Travels Tom & don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything!

Michelle Coleman

In Memory of Matthew Burke

Dr Matthew Burke – died February 6, 2011

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/augustachronicle/obituary.aspx?pid=148510935

Dr. Matthew Patrick Burke, Major US Army, died on February 6, 2011 at The Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon. At the time of his passing, Matt was surrounded by his loving family and was in the dedicated care of his Army colleagues….
Matthew was decorated for his service during a deployment to Al Asad Air Force Base in Iraq. He returned to Eisenhower Army Medical Center and was serving as the Chief of Adult Joint Reconstruction for the Orthopedic Surgery Service at Eisenhower Medical Center at Fort Gordon. Matthew was a courageous athlete and an accomplished skier, rower, cyclist, and wakeboarder. He completed the RAGBRAI bicycle tour across the state of Iowa three times with his siblings; the final time joined also by his wife Bonnie.
Matt had an extraordinary range of interests, hobbies, and friends. Matthew is survived by his wife Bonnie; eleven month-old daughter Anna Ryan; parents Dr. John and Andrea Burke of Salt Lake City, Utah; sister Erin, brothers Paul and Ted (Kim), and nephew Matthew John. Matt is also survived by his aunt Patricia Keane Kennedy (John) and uncles Paul Keane and Robert Keane, S.J. (Captain, USN). Matt is also survived by his parents-in-law Rod and Jean of Du Bois, Pennsylvania, and sister-in-law Katie (Joel). The Burke Family wishes to thank the medical team at MCG for its care of Matthew. The Burke Family also expresses its heartfelt thanks to the civilian and Army colleagues who cared for him at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. The Burke Family also wishes to acknowledge and thank Matt’s many friends and Army colleagues for their support since October 2010.  Read the full article

Meet Kevin Campbell – walking across America

IMG_1622I met Kevin in Kingsland, GA on Mar 7th as I was finding a local hotel for the night.  He was one of those people that never knows a stranger and his engaging manner soon had me asking more questions of him than he had of me.

Kevin, originally from Boston, was diagnosed with macular degeneration six years with the prognosis of permanent blindness within ten years.

Most people, when confronted with this may adopt a ‘why me’ attitude, but not Kevin.  He said that he saw this an opportunity to see America, the country that he loves so much, so, he started WALKING from Seattle, Washington to the east coast, nine months ago, going one day at a time, working odd jobs to pay his way.

He carries a map, backpack, an atlas, an umbrella, & bin0culars as his eyesight is failing him.  He refuses donations and once he gets enough money from odd jobs, continues to walk to achieve his goal.

He said that his grandmother, who was Irish always told him, ‘Kevin, you must go out to see the world as it will not come to see you’.

Well, Kevin, you’re doing more than that, you’re providing a great example to all of us to explore this great country and get to know its people, one step and one smile at a time.

Thanks for continuing to inspire me on my journey.  Godspeed on your journey and its successful conclusion.

Meet Kenneth E Smith, Sr – Mayor of Kingsland, GA

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I met Mayor Smith on Mar 7th, when I stayed in Kingsland, Georgia.  Mayor Smith served three tours of duty in Vietnam, was exposed to Agent Orange and enemy gunfire serving in the ‘brown water Navy’ (naval operations in the rivers of Vietnam) before leaving the service in 1969.  His biography follows:

Mayor Kenneth E. Smith, Sr. is a native of Kingsland, Georgia.  He served sixteen years as Councilman for the City of Kingsland and was first sworn into office as the Mayor in January 2002.Mayor Smith has prioritized the interests of Kingsland residents, families and businesses.  He has made himself accessible to all of his constituents and works diligently as an ambassador for Kingsland and ultimately its well being.

In 2008, Mayor Smith served as President of the Georgia Municipal Association.  Currently he serves on the Georgia Municipal Association Board of Directors, the Legislative Committee, the Budget Committee and the Board of Trustees for the Georgia Municipal Employee Benefit System and Worker’s Compensation Self-Insurance Fund.

Prior service includes the Georgia Municipal Association’s Revenue and Finance Committee, District 12 President, Dues and Revenue Study Subcommittee, Municipal Operations Committee; and, the Resolutions Committee.  Mayor Smith has earned four certificates of achievement and excellence upon completing hours of municipal training at the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute for elected officials.

He also serves as vice chairman of the PSA (Public Service Authority), of Camden County, a member of the Elks Lodge of Camden County, and serves as an executive board member of the Coastal Regional Transportation Roundtable.

The Mayor participated in the oversight of the recent installation of a state-of-the-art $13 million dollar wastewater treatment facility.  This facility doubled our wastewater capacity yet is very cost efficient.  It is beautifully landscaped and returns clean water back to the St Marys River.

Mayor Smith is a lifelong member of the First African Missionary Baptist Church in Kingsland, and actively serves as a board officer for the church.  He also serves as Vice President for the Zion Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress.

In 1965, he graduated from Ralph Johnson Bunche High School.  After graduation, he went on to serve in the U.S. Navy, where he completed three tours in Vietnam.  He and his wife, Peggy, have three sons, Kenneth Jr., Kevin, and Kimyatta and are also blessed with five grandchildren.

Tom writing here again.  The thing that impressed me the most about the Mayor was his insistence on escorting me to the Veterans Park to have the Memorial Ceremony in Kingsland where he & I read the names of those from the area who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Although it was a busy day for the Kingsland city officials and they could not attend the ceremony, Mayor Smith made the point of making this his priority at 5:00 pm.

Thank you Mister Mayor, for one of the most heartfelt and personal ceremonies that I’ve had during this trip

LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation

Live To TellIt is not possible to tell all the stories on the road, but one that needs to be broadcast is the story about the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation.

Janos (or Johnny as he is called by his mother Janine) was a Marine from Davie, Florida, deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan, returned home, and after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), took his own life on Jan 12, 2013.

This devastating tragedy (being replayed at, on the average of one suicide per hour every day) would effectively end any hope of happiness that I would have for my life, but Janine has transformed this into a life-affirming program of suicide prevention by de-stigmatizing Post Traumatic Stress turning into from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder into Post Traumatic Growth.

What Janine and her small core of volunteers have done in such a short period of time is nothing short of remarkable and awe-inspiring.  Visit their website at http://lcpllutzlivetotell.org/ for practical information to prevent veteran suicide and how to implement best practices for your local communities.

I also strongly recommend going to their Facebook page to see how a vibrant form of social media can be effective and empowering (‘Like’ them also).

It is estimated that PTS affects over 600,000 personnel since 9/11 and Janine’s 501(c)3 charity, LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Foundation is taking concrete steps to ensure that those at risk are identified and supported through a Buddy Up Program.

The town of Davie, Florida has embraced this charity with a proclamation naming Jan 12, 2013 The LCpl Janos V Lutz Live To Tell Day and sponsoring the PTS Awareness Day on that day.  They have also donated the use of the Davie Women’s Club Facility one day per month for the Buddy Up program.

During our Remember, Recognize, & Rejoice Ceremony last Friday (Mar 14) at Davie Town Hall, I was particularly impressed by Mayor Judy Paul’s commitment & support of this and other veteran’s initiative.  Mayor Paul’s actions show the model that other towns can follow to address this devastating problem.

Although many times we are reminded of what is wrong or lacking in the US, it is more important to realize the positive effect that two people can have in turning a tragedy into what will ultimately be a triumph.

 

So Janine & Judy, you have my sincere admiration and thanks for Giving Back to Those Who Served.

The Leathernecks

IMG_1687It has been an honor & privilege for me to get to know many organizations on my trip across the US both in 2012 & this year, and I that I wish to highlight is the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club Intl, Inc.  Below is an excerpt from their website.

Just as the United States Marine Corps is a proud and distinct organization that stands apart from other military organizations, so too, is the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club Intl., Inc. a proud and distinct organization of active-duty and former Marines and FMF Corpsmen that stands apart from, yet not against, other motorcycle clubs. Just as the United States Marine Corps supports God, Country and Marine Corps Brotherhood, so too, does the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club support God, Country and Marine Corps Brotherhood. Just as the United States Marine Corps stands ready to defend our country and allies against tyranny, so too, does the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club Intl., Inc. stand ready to defend itself against tyranny of any kind.

The Leathernecks Motorcycle Club Intl., Inc. is not political and claims no territory. We have no need for reputation building. The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor needs no introduction. We fly USMC and CORPSMAN as bottom rockers because we can. We respect all men except the enemies of our country and the enemies of our free way of life. We are not interested in joining or interfering with the affairs of others. We desire only to ride our motorcycles in the company of our brothers as free men in this free land, a land for which we and our brothers have fought “In Every Clime and Place” during the past 238 years. Currently, and always, we have brothers in hostile places around this globe defending our rights to choose as we please. We will never seek to infringe upon the rights of anyone and we expect the same courtesy in return.

Tom writing here again. These guys are amazing.  They will attend any event, any ceremony, any activity that honors our military and veterans and came at very short notice to participate in our Ceremony in Davie honoring the fallen from Iraq & Afghanistan and those who have succumbed to Post Traumatic Stress since coming home.  It was one of my highest honors to call the names alongside these Marine vets, who, from outside appearance may look a bit intimidating to the uninitiated, but to those who know them, regard them as brothers in arms extending across generations.

I’m not ashamed to say that the shared tears were shed helped me through the ceremony.  I really appreciate Gunny’s (the Marine with sunglasses, fierce look, and ‘evil grin’) words of comfort of never being ashamed of shedding tears for those who have done so much for us.

Another Leatherneck, ‘Ghost’ is hosting me on this Sunday & I look forward to seeing more of these great folks as I cross the country.

Semper Fi!

 

Veteran stops in Davie on awareness-raising bike ride to Alaska

Veteran stops in Davie on awareness-raising bike ride to Alaska

By Wayne K. Roustan, Sun Sentinel |6:52 p.m. EDT, March 14, 2014 | Click here for a link to the original story

Tom von Kaenel is on a 6,600-mile mission to raise awareness about the battles some veterans continue to fight after their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He stopped for a ceremony at Davie Town Hall on Friday during his bicycle trip from his South Carolina home to Key West, where he will turn around and head for Juneau, Alaska.

The Sea2Sea 2014 Challenge is expected to take four months, but it’s not the first time von Kaenel has gone the extra mile. He rode his bike from Washington state to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in 2011.

The retired lieutenant colonel, 58, chose this path while recovering from injuries sustained on vacation in the French Pyrenees in 2010. He was recuperating in a U.S. military hospital in Germany, where he saw many young veterans returning from the Persian Gulf.

He is also making the ride for veterans such as Janos V. Lutz, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007 to 2009. The 24-year-old Marine took his own life when he returned home to Davie, said his mother. Janine Lutz.

Lutz cited post-traumatic stress disorder and the anti-malaria drug mefloquine, also known by its brand name Lariam, which her son had been ordered to take during and after his service, as contributing to his death. “The side effects are…paranoia, hallucinations,” she said. “My son had all of that.” Last September, the Army banned the use of the drug among special operations forces.

Lutz is working with von Kaenel to make people aware of the dangers of PTSD and some of the drugs prescribed for it. She’s also trying to launch the Buddy Up-Live To Tell program for peer support among veterans.
“When [my son] was in his darkest hour, I couldn’t help him,” she said. “But I know if I had gotten some of his battle buddies here they would have saved my son.”

wkroustan@tribune.com or 954-356-4303

Copyright © 2014 including images, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska The names of 345 Florida soldiers who died in Iraq & Afghanistan fill a table after each of their names were read outloud during a memorial service honoring them and also those who have committed suicide suffering from PTSD. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska
The names of 345 Florida soldiers who died in Iraq & Afghanistan fill a table after each of their names were read outloud during a memorial service honoring them and also those who have committed suicide suffering from PTSD. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska (left to right) Town of Davie Mayor Judy Paul, veteran Tom von Kaenel and others read the names of soldiers who died in Iraq & Afghanistan and those who have committed suicide because of PTSD. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska
(left to right) Town of Davie Mayor Judy Paul, veteran Tom von Kaenel and others read the names of soldiers who died in Iraq & Afghanistan and those who have committed suicide because of PTSD. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska After getting off his bike veteran Tom von Kaenel is greated by fellow veterans (left) Jack Parsons and (right) Drew Karoblis Friday in Davie. Von Kaenel is riding his bike 6600 miles from Key West to Alaska to raise awareness and support for the problems veterans face, including PTSD. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska
After getting off his bike veteran Tom von Kaenel is greated by fellow veterans (left) Jack Parsons and (right) Drew Karoblis Friday in Davie. Von Kaenel is riding his bike 6600 miles from Key West to Alaska to raise awareness and support for the problems veterans face, including PTSD. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska Daniel Iarco plays taps during a memorial service for soldiers who have committed suicide due to PTSD and soldiers who have died in from Iraq & Afghanistan. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /July 27, 2013)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska
Daniel Iarco plays taps during a memorial service for soldiers who have committed suicide due to PTSD and soldiers who have died in from Iraq & Afghanistan. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /July 27, 2013)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska Veteran Tom von Kaenel is escorted into the Town of Davie City Hall Friday afternoon during his 6600 miles from Key West to Alaska to raise awareness and support for the problems veterans face, including PTSD. He passed through Davie for a 30-minute ceremony honoring soldiers from Iraq & Afghanistan. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)

Veteran bikes Key West to Alaska
Veteran Tom von Kaenel is escorted into the Town of Davie City Hall Friday afternoon during his 6600 miles from Key West to Alaska to raise awareness and support for the problems veterans face, including PTSD. He passed through Davie for a 30-minute ceremony honoring soldiers from Iraq & Afghanistan. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel /March 14, 2014)