Six Mile Resident to Embark on Ride for Veterans

Great Article about Tom’s 2nd ride for Sea2Sea in The Greenville News

Feb 24, 2014

Exerpt from the Article:
(For the full article, click here)

This trip is different from von Kaenel’s first Sea2Sea ride in 2011. This one is not about raising money. He wants to raise awareness about those who have died and about those who live with the weight of war on them. And he also wants to let people know about the organizations that help, such as Upstate Wounded Warriors or Gold Star Mothers.

“The extraordinary people are those people that have lost their loved ones in those conflicts and carry on day after day to try and live a normal life,” he says fighting tears. “The extraordinary people are the ones that come back damaged and hurt from visible and invisible wounds, and the families that are struggling to help them lead a normal life that is safeguarded by our constitution.

Six Mile Resident to Embark on Ride for Veterans

Six Mile Resident to Embark on Ride for Veterans

Bikers travel across country to honor fallen at Beirut Memorial

Link to Original Article on Camp Lejune Globe.com
Post By: 2nd Lt. Sarah Burns Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Cycling 3,870 miles across the United States and having another 1,000 more miles to go sounds hard, but to riders of the Sea2Sea Challenge it is nothing compared to the sacrifice service members and their families make every day.

Tom von Kaenel, Alvon Elrod, Chip Minks and other members of the Down East Cycling group from Jacksonville, N.C., biked to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune April 22 to deliver the daily remembrance ceremony at the Beirut Memorial.

“In this daily remembrance ceremony we call out the names of 100 U.S. and 10 British service members who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11,” said von Kaenel. “The ceremony is the hardest part of the trip. No amount of biking will ever be as hard as the sacrifices our service members and families make every day.”

The ceremonies occurred in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and now North Carolina.

There was also a special remembrance ceremony at Mount Rushmore honoring all the Native Americans who were killed at Wounded Knee, S.D.

In addition to the ceremonies, the group met with Gold Star Mothers and widows of service members from Iraq and Afghanistan to specifically remember those they lost.

Sea2Sea Foundation was created to raise awareness about the sacrifices U.S. and U.K. service members faced since 9/11. It was launched November 11, 2011, after von Kaenel, a retired American service member and founder of Sea2Sea, recovered from a serious biking accident that demanded immediate medical attention provided by a medical evacuation flight to a military hospital.

“The number of procedures there helped save my life, so I said if I am going to be able to walk again, if I was going to be able to live again, I am going to do this,” von Kaenel said.

Von Kaenel biked to Heathrow International Airport April 16, thus beginning the Sea2Sea challenge.

The American portion of the bike ride began as von Kaenel, Elrod, and Bruce Hammersley, a professional photographer, blogger and the safety vehicle driver, departed Ocean Shores, Wash., April 23. Chip Minks, their childhood friend, flew in from Germany to complete the last 1,000 miles of the ride through Quantico, Va., and into Washington D.C.

The ride is scheduled to conclude July 3 in Arlington, Va., where there will be a final remembrance ceremony followed by an all-night vigil at the chapel at Fort Myer, Va.

At the all-night vigil, they will place an index card with a name for each U.S. service member who was killed in action since 911. These 7,000 cards will serve as a visual reminder of how many 7,000 lives entail.

“The morning of July 4, we will gather up the 7,000 index cards and take them to the Marine Corps Memorial,” von Kaenel said. “There we will give them to cyclists who will carry them to the Lincoln Memorial, where a two-minute ceremony will complete the U.S. portion of this mission.”

“It’s the experience of a lifetime,” Elrod said. “This country is just blessed to have such great people.”

The group rides approximately 60 to 80 miles each day for 11 weeks and uses Sundays for recovery. Support is encouraged at every level whether it be by riding with them or through donations. Their goal is to raise $10 million for U.S. and U.K. service member, and veteran charities.

If you are interested in riding with Sea2Sea, donating or for more information, please visit Sea2Sea.org.

Clemson University Scroll of Honor

Original Article Posted on CityofClemson.com

Clemson University Scroll of Honor – Ceremony begins at 6:00 pm BBQ at Nettles Park after Honor Ceremony
Sea 2 Sea Foundation

Jun 15 2012 – 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Clemson University Scroll of Honor – Ceremony begins at 6:00 pm
BBQ at Nettles Park after Honor Ceremony

The purpose of The Sea2Sea Foundation is to “help those who served”. Specifically, providing assistance to service members, veterans and their families with the goal of transitioning them successfully back into civilian life and society.

After a day of bike riding Thomas von Kaenel and Alvon Elrod will be in Clemson on Friday, June 15th for a remembrance ceremony and a Welter BBQ celebration. The ceremony will be at 6:00pm at the Scroll of Honor on Clemson Campus. The BBQ will be at Nettles Park (near Pendleton) after the ceremony.

Sea2Sea Mission is ‘Giving Back to Those Who Served’

 

Link to original article on SabethaHerald.com

Preparing to depart Sycamore Springs Resort northeast of Sabetha Tuesday morning, May 29, to continue their mission are bicyclists (L-R) Tom von Kaenel and Alvon Elrod.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Hammersley

A unique small group with a huge mission arrived at the Sabetha Cemetery Monday morning, May 28, just in time to catch the end of the annual Memorial Day service hosted by our local veterans’ organizations.

The group included two bicyclists, Tom von Kaenel and Alvon Elrod, and Bruce Hammersly, a professional photographer who was driving an RV.

They had left Marysville early that morning and were planning to spend the rest of Monday at Sycamore Springs Resort northeast of Sabetha – which is how they happened to be traveling through Sabetha.

At the cemetery, they met and were engaged in conversation with Lafe Bailey, who ended up taking them to Harriet’s House, where his parents, Larry and Linda Bailey, were hosting a family gathering. There they enjoyed lunch and held their daily brief Remembrance of the Fallen Ceremony.

“In this daily ceremony, we call out the names of 100 U.S. and 10 British service members who were killed in action since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. territory,” von Kaenel said. “We remember, recognize and rejoice for those who died. This part of our mission is non-negotiable!”

On Tuesday the group was headed for Leavenworth National Cemetery, where they would hold the Remembrance of the Fallen Ceremony.

“Our ride will culminate at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on July 3,” von Kaenel said. “There we will have the final remembrance ceremony, followed by an all-night vigil at the chapel at Fort Myer, Va.”

At the all-night vigil, they will place an index card with a name for each U.S. service member who was killed in action since 9-11. These 7,000 cards will serve as a visual reminder of how many 7,000 lives entails.

“The morning of July 4, we will gather up the 7,000 index cards and take them to the Marine Corps Memorial,” von Kaenel said. “There we will give them to cyclists who will carry them to the Lincoln Memorial, where a two-minute ceremony will complete the U.S. portion of this mission.”

The trio will then head back to England (the U.K.) for the remainder of Sea2Sea’s mission.

“On July 7 we will land at Heathrow International Airport and will lay a wreathe at the CENOTAPH National War Memorial in London on behalf of the American people,” von Kaenel said. “The night of the 7th, we will hold a ceremony with the British names.”

On the morning of July 8, the group will cycle back to RAF Brize Norton.

“That will be the end of the mission,” von Kaenel said.

The group’s experience in the United States, and especially Sabetha, is a memorable one, von Kaenel said.

“We’re just absolutely astounded by the generosity, hospitality and kindness of the American people,” he said. “Being invited to the Baileys’ home for lunch and the ceremony is a great example of our experience in this country.”

“We also were very impressed with the ceremony and the turnout at the Sabetha Cemetery,” he added.

Giving Back To Those Who Served

On Nov. 11, 2011, Tom von Kaenel, a retired American serviceman living in Oxfordshire, England, launched an ambitious international fundraiser to benefit U.K. and U.S. servicemen.

The challenge has begun. Starting at the Britannia Gate at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire and incorporating a cycle ride of over 4,200 miles, including 4,077 miles across the Continental United States from the west to the east coast, it will end at Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2012, before finishing in the U.K. on July 8, 2012.

The Mission

The Sea2Sea Foundation aims to raise $10,000,000 for the various U.S. service member and veteran charity organizations (i.e. Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Legion, Wounded Warriors, Heroes for Hire and No Greater Sacrifice to name a few) and £5,000,000 to benefit the various U.K. service member and veteran charity organizations (i.e., Army Benevolent Fund, British Legion and Help for Heroes).

Funds raised through sponsorship will be paid direct to the charities through their own web sites.

“The mission of Sea2Sea is simple: to give back to U.K. and to US service men and women who have served since 9/11,” von Kaenel said. “We do this by providing a website that provides a comprehensive list of registered U.K. and U.S. charities that are related to benefiting the Armed Forces of these two countries.

“[We] welcome help from anyone who wishes to give their support and expertise. We are completely apolitical and are not in competition with any other U.S. or U.K. charity. In fact, our website will host the names, addresses and purpose of any registered U.K. or U.S. charity and we welcome the opportunity to highlight the selfless work that they do so that people can contribute to their specific needs. On the site, you can choose your preferred charity to benefit from your contributions.”

You can sponsor von Kaenel and his team at The Sea2Sea Foundation through his website at www.sea2sea.org, which acts as a portal for the fundraising.

The Challenge

The total miles on the U.S. leg of the Sea2Sea Challenge is 4,077. The total miles for both the U.K. and the U.S. legs are 4,248 miles.

The Journey will take 77 days and will take the riders through at least one or more major military installations (Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines).

On the website at www.sea2sea.org, you will find full details of the charities supported and the sponsors supporting the Challenge.

The day-by-day schedule of locations, times and travel routes for cyclists joining the Sea2Sea Challenge is likewise posted to The Sea2Sea Foundation website at the “Join Our Journey” tab.

Contributions can be posted in either U.S. Dollars or British Pounds Sterling. Visit www.sea2sea.org for all of the latest updates to the Blog and to each of the Social Media sites as well.

About Tom von Kaenel

Tom von Kaenel is a retired U.S. soldier who has lived in Freeland, a village in Oxfordshire, since 1998. (He is married to an English woman). He has been closely affiliated with the British Armed Forces for most of his adult life.

Von Kaenel founded Sea2Sea as a U.K./U.S. charity whose purpose is “Giving back to those who served.” The 2012 Sea2Sea cycle ride is the charity’s first challenge.

“Every day deepens my resolve to do this and make this event memorable, life-changing, positive and fun,” he said. “The purpose of this ride is to raise national and international awareness of the price paid by the service men and women who have born the cost of the conflicts since 9/11. My aim is to raise £5,000,000 for U.K. veteran-related charities and the equivalent of $10,000,000 for U.S. veteran related charities.

“This cycle ride is open to all (you can cycle 1 mile, less or the whole distance) and will demonstrate our support and appreciation for those who safeguard our freedom (as well as their families).”

On Sept. 16, 2009, von Kanel suffered a life-threatening cycling accident in the Pyrenees, which came close to ending his life and destroying his health.  He was sent to the U.S. Landstuhl Regional Military Hospital in Germany and admitted into the same ward as injured duty soldiers.

“The 2-1/2 weeks that I spent there changed my life,” von Kaenel said. “I witnessed, for the first time in my life, the depth of sacrifice, devotion, and selflessness exhibited by the staff and the patients, all focused on trying to preserve the lifeblood of those men and women who were injured defending our countries and our way of life, and tragically, those who paid the ultimate price.”

He was in intensive care and isolation for a number of weeks and suffered several complications, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) more than once.

Having returned to the U.K. and having learnt to walk again, he suffered a second bout of MRSA, which put him back into isolation and meant he had to start all over again.

Von Kaenel is back on the road to recovery and this past summer cycled over the highest pass in the Swiss Alps.

“However, this is not the case for thousands of those who gave their lives for us, the hundreds of thousands whose lives are forever changed, as well as their families and friends,” he said. “In short, they need our help, and more importantly, we owe them a debt that we can help to repay for the sacrifices that they have made.”

Story by Patty Locher, staff writer for The Sabetha Herald

Sea2Sea Foundation riders to ride through North Georgia

Link to original article on MyForsyth.com
This entry was posted by Monday, 4 June, 2012

This month, the riders from the Sea2 Sea Foundation will be riding through Dahlonega, Georgia as part of a 4,200 international bicycle ride to raise awareness and funds for the returning veterans of the Afghan and Iraqi war zones.  The cyclists are scheduled to arrive in Dahlonega on the 13th, departing in the morning on the 14th.

Bike ride for veterans arrives Tuesday

Original Content Posted on LeavenworthTimes.com
By Tim Linn
GateHouse News Service
Posted May 26, 2012 @ 07:39 AM

 Leavenworth, Kan. —

Set to arrive just after Memorial Day, Tom von Kaenel, a former American service member who now lives in the United Kingdom, said there’s no place he’d rather be Tuesday than Leavenworth.

Von Kaenel will hit roughly the midpoint of a 4,077-mile bicycle ride from the west to the east coast that day, but that’s not the reason he’s excited to come to the city. He said that date, that time, will be a perfect opportunity to illustrate just why he’s riding in the first place.

“In the week after Memorial Day, we thought it would be fitting to be at one of the most historical military posts in our country,” he said Friday.

Von Kaenel is biking across the country with memory in mind — he’s leading the Sea2Sea bicycle ride in honor of and in support for active-duty and veteran U.S. military members and their families and loved ones. Another leg is scheduled to begin in the U.K. for that country’s service members after the conclusion of the U.S. trip in July.

It’s something of a quest for von Kaenel, one that has at least three separate aims — he said he primarily wants to remember those service members who have fallen since 9/11. Secondly, von Kaenel said he wants to raise awareness and support all registered U.S. and U.K. veterans charity groups. The third aim?

“To rejoice,” von Kaenel said. “To celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.”

He said he’s hoping to have as many people come to the short ceremony scheduled for about 6 p.m. Tuesday at First Command Financial Planning, 1100 N. Fourth St., as possible. Like the other stops he’s made along his journey, he’ll host a “remembrance of the fallen ceremony” at that location, reading the names of 100 American and 10 British troops who have died since 9/11. Von Kaenel said cards will bear the name, rank and other information about that person and the names read at each stop come from that state or region.

“It really connects people on a very deep and emotional basis,” he said.

Fittingly, it was a similarly emotional experience that spurred von Kaenel’s desire to put the ride together in the first place. In 2009, he said he was in a bicycle accident in the Pyrenees which left him with multiple injuries, the most serious of which was a broken hip and a shattered pelvis. Confronting the possibility that he might never walk again and could even lose his life, von Kaenel said he asked to arrange for a transfer to the U.S.’s Landstuhl Regional Military Hospital in Germany. It was there, for two and a half weeks in a ward among active-duty servicemembers recently injured in combat zones, that he came to a realization.

Sea2Sea remembers the fallen

Original Content Posted on – KEVN Black Hills FOX, SD BlackHillsFox.com

The names of our fallen soldiers are not being forgotten.  For the past several weeks, Tom Von Kaenel  has been riding his bike in remembrance of American and British veterans as part of the Sea-2-Sea charity program.

Starting his journey in England, Von Kaenel flew to the state of Washington and is biking across the country to Washington, D.C.   Along his route, he meets locals and makes stops to perform Remembrance Ceremonies, reading aloud the names of more than 7-thousand fallen soldiers.  Thursday’s ceremony took place at Mount Rushmore.  Von Kaenel says, “Although this is an informal and very joyful celebration as we go across our journey, there’s one non-negotiable. The non-negotiable is that before we ride, we will remember people and we will call out every name and we will not stop until we finish calling these names out. They’ll all be called out by the 4th of July.”   Von Kaenel says the final names will be read on July 4th at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.As part of his journey, Von Kaenel and the Sea-2-Sea organization are looking to raise $10 million dollars or 5 million pounds for various veterans’ charities in the U.S. and the U.K.

Zach Nugent

Cyclists riding across America to help veterans

Original Content Posted on Keoland.com

An American veteran is cycling across the United States raising awareness for charities benefiting wounded troops.  Today the ride, dubbed Sea2Sea, made a stop at Mount Rushmore.

KEYSTONE, SD -

An American veteran is cycling across the United States raising awareness for charities benefiting wounded troops.  Today the ride, dubbed Sea2Sea, made a stop at Mount Rushmore.

Because of the ride, on Thursday the names of 100 service members who lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan were read aloud at the monument.

“Every time you read the names you think about the fact that they’re not going to have the chance to grow old.  They’ve given their lives for what we have,” South Dakota Army National Guard Col. James Webster said.

It’s a daily ritual for Tom von Kaenel, who has been riding his bicycle across the United States to help raise money for veterans organizations.

“That is the only non-negotiable part of this trip.  I’m willing to look at different routes. I’m willing to look at different stops and start points and everything else.  But we will not cycle until we read these names off,” Sea2Sea founder Tom von Kaenel.

The ride began in Great Britain on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and will end in Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July. Along the way, local cyclists have joined von Kaenel for portions of his ride.

“For me who is a non-military person, it is a small way, a small token to show appreciation to our troops,” Dakota Bike Tours owner Jim Books said.

Von Kaenel decided to make the journey after a serious cycling accident in France landed him in an American military hospital in Germany.  There, he saw first-hand the price soldiers were paying for our country.

“So from that point I made the commitment that if I was going to live and was going to walk again that I would do this and that’s what I’m doing now,” von Kaenel said.

It’s a commitment that local cyclists are happy to support.

“There’s no greater feeling to do something that you love to do and to accomplish something that you’re passionate about,” Webster said.

“It is an act of joy and bliss to be able to dedicate this ride to those people, because without them we wouldn’t be here enjoying our freedoms,” von Kaenel said.

Von Kaenel usually rides between 60 and 75 miles, six days a week.  Today, his journey took him from Mount Rushmore to Rapid City.

If you’re interested in donating to a registered military charity there’s information on how you can do so on the group’s website.

Sea2Sea: One man’s crusade to cross two countries

Original Content on FCJourney.com

If not for the selfless and dedicated staff at Landstuhl Military Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, U.S. Army veteran Tom von Kaenel would not be alive today – and he knows it.

On Sept. 16, 2009, while cycling in the Pyrenees Mountains, Tom had a gruesome cycling accident, suffering major injuries all over his body, shattering his pelvis, dislocating his hip and breaking his eye socket. After the crash, he was taken to a London hospital, where doctors said he may never walk again and would have to drastically change his way of life. Not one to give in so easily, Tom secured a transfer to Landstuhl, where they were better equipped to treat his injuries, and where they ultimately saved his life.

“It was like being in a shrine – the holiest place I’ve ever been to,” Tom says of Landstuhl. “I was in the trauma ward with soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. It just struck me, the concentrated effort being put forth to get these people well. And, I said right there that I’m going to learn to walk again and get back on my bike and tell this story. I really feel it’s my quest.”

For the next two years, Tom would endure intense physical therapy and constant pain in order to fulfill the commitments he made in that hospital room – and prove to his doctors that a full recovery was possible.

On April 21, 2012, Tom’s vision became reality. The Sea 2 Sea Foundation, the non-profit organization he founded after his accident, is sponsoring a 79-day, 4,200 mile bicycle quest across England and America to raise almost $18 million for service members injured in the War on Terror. Donations will go to various U.S. and UK charities, including Wounded Warriors and Help for Heroes.

Tom began his journey in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, England, where he cycled the 60-plus miles to London Heathrow Airport and boarded a flight to Seattle. In April, he set off from the Pacific Ocean, just west of Seattle, heading southwest, through Middle America and the Midwest, down into South Carolina, and back up the East Coast to Washington, D.C.

To stay on schedule, Tom rides about 63 miles per day, from early morning to early-to-mid afternoon, usually accompanied by a group of local cyclists. In the afternoons and evenings, Tom meets with local community leaders, gives talks at schools, and visits military bases and Veterans hospitals – spreading the word about his mission. He’s also scheduled to speak at some major events, including the Country Music Awards Music Festival on June 9 in Nashville, Tenn.

 

Joining Tom for the entirety of the trip will be a support group consisting of one British retiree and one fully loaded RV. His jack-of-all-trades partner, Bruce Hammersley, is a retired entrepreneur, who signed on as the trip photographer, but has since taken on various other jobs, including official blogger, cook, bottle washer and driver.

“Bruce has been absolutely instrumental in this effort,” Tom says. “I couldn’t do it without him.”

Tom and Bruce are scheduled to finish their epic journey on Independence Day at the Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. – after, first, dipping their feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

And, if you’re concerned about Tom’s health so soon after the accident, or worried about the effect the brutal summer sun will have on the men, just relax, he says. He’s got this.

“No matter what happens, I’ll be at Arlington Cemetery on July 4,” he says. “We’ll make the date. You can count on that.”

Tom von Kaenel is a current client of First Command Financial Services, Inc.

 

First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc. in all states except Montana, where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic corporation). Banking products and services are offered by First Command Bank. Securities products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement or other financial goals will be met. In Europe, investment and insurance products and services are offered through First Command Europe Limited. First Command Europe Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Command Financial Services, Inc. and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Certain products and services offered in the United States may not be available through First Command Europe Limited.

Giving Back to Those Who Served

Link to original content on www.whatsgoodtodo.com

On 11.11.11 Tom Von Kaenel, a retired American Serviceman living in Oxfordshire, is launching an ambitious international fundraiser to benefit UK and US servicemen.

The challenge will start and finish at the new New Repatriation Centre at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, and incorporates a cycle ride of over 4000 miles, including 3924 miles across the United States from the west to the east coast, ending at Washington, DC on 4th July before returning to the UK on 8th July.

The Mission
Tom aims to raise £5,000,000 to benefit the various UK service member and veteran charity organisations (ie, Army Benevolent Fund, British Legion, Help for Heroes) and $10,000,000 for the various US service member and veteran charity organisations (ie, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warriors). Funds raised through sponsorship will be paid direct to the charities through their own web sites.

You can sponsor Tom and his team through his web site www.sea2sea.org which acts as a portal for the fundraising.

The Operation Schedule
11.11.11            Sea2Sea Launch Day
21.04.12           The journey starts at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire with a cycle ride to London Heathrow (LHR) Airport taking a flight to Seattle
21.04.12           2 days in the Seattle area
24.04.12           The team will push off from Copalis Beach, Washington heading east
04.07.12           Finish at Washington DC on 4th July
06.07.12           Fly back to London Heathrow and cycling back to Brize Norton via Aldershot at Royal Wootton Bassett
08.07.12           Arrive back at Brize Norton

The Challenge
Total miles in the UK: 161 miles (55 miles from Brize Norton to LHR and 106 miles from LHR to Brize Norton via Aldershot and Royal Wootton Bassett)

Total miles in the US: 3924 miles

Total miles: 4085 miles

Total number of days for the journey: 77 days

“The route will take us through at least one or more major military installation (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines) and of course will go through Clemson, SC, cuz’ I gotta see my Mama!” says Tom.

Join Up
Tom is asking for help to make this huge challenge a success. He needs assistance in the UK and the USA to plan, organise, and of course participate in the cycle ride.

You can join Tom by signing up on the web site at www.sea2sea.org where you will also find full details of the charities supported by the challenge.

Sea2Sea is asking for:

1) Individuals to help establish the charity – volunteering to fill the much needed admin, accounting, legal, and logistical positions (assistant secretary, assistant treasurer, legal adviser, accountant, etc.).

2) Corporate sponsorship/partnership.

3) Help organise the event itself (including amateur or cycling clubs to shepherd the group from one point to another; marshals, bicycle repair people, honorary team captains for the day and fellow cyclists who will lead the team on a ceremonial cycle through each town/village.

4) Donations via PayPal (on the website) or by cheque payable to ‘Sea2Sea’ 17 Pigeon House Lane
Freeland, Oxon, OX29 8AG.

Tom says, “The mission of Sea2Sea is simple: to give back to UK and US service men and women who have served since 9/11. We do this by providing a website that provides a comprehensive list of registered UK and US charities that are related to benefiting the Armed Forces of these two countries.”

The Sea2Sea site will act as a portal for fundraising. On the site you can choose your preferred charity to benefit from your donation.

Tom says, “I welcome help from anyone who wishes to give their support and expertise. We are completely apolitical and are not in competition with any other US or UK charity. In fact, our website will host the names, addresses, and purpose of any registered UK or US charity and welcome the opportunity to highlight the selfless work that they do so that people can contribute to their specific needs.”

British and American military charity organisations that wish to be listed on the Sea2Sea website to heighten the public awareness of who they are and what they do should contact Tom by email at tomvk@sea2sea.org.

About Tom
Tom von Kaenel is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US army. Tom has been closely affiliated with the British Armed Forces for most his adult life, and served in the United States Army from 1977-1997, spending 12 of the 20 years in various assignments in Germany.  His last assignment was desk officer for Sub-Saharan Africa as the US European Command Headquarters where he was involved in humanitarian operations including Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and numerous countries in southern Africa.  He has a son in the US military.

Tom has founded Sea2Sea as a UK/US charity whose purpose is ‘Giving back to those who served.’

The 2012 Sea2Sea cycle ride is the charity’s first challenge. He says, “Every day deepens my resolve to do this and make this event memorable, life-changing, positive, and fun.”

“The purpose of this ride is to raise national and international awareness of the price paid by the servicemen and women who have born the cost the conflicts since 9/11.”

“My aim is to raise £5,000,000 for UK veteran related charities and the equivalent $10,000,000 to the US ones.”

“This cycle ride is open to all (you can cycle 1 mile, less or the whole distance) and will demonstrate our support and appreciation to those who safeguard our freedom (as well as their families).

On 16th Sep 2009 Tom suffered a life threatening cycling accident in the Pyrenees which came close to ending his life and destroying his health.   Tom was sent to US Landstuhl Regional Military Hospital in Germany and admitted into the same ward as injured duty soldiers. He says, “The 2 1/2 weeks that I spent there changed my life. I witnessed for the first time in my life, the depth of sacrifice, devotion, and selflessness exhibited by the staff and the patients, all focused on trying to preserve the lifeblood of those men and women who were injured defending our countries and our way of life, and tragically those that paid the ultimate price.”

Tom was in intensive care and isolation for a number of weeks and suffered several complications including MRSA more than once. Having returned to the UK and having learnt to walk again, he suffered a second bout of MRSA which put him back into isolation and meant he had to start all over again. Tom is back on the road to recovery and this summer cycled over the highest pass in the Swiss Alps.

“However, this is not the case for thousands of those who gave their lives for us, the hundreds of thousands whose lives are forever changed, as well as their families and friends. In short, they need our help, and more importantly, we owe them a debt that we can help to repay for the sacrifices that they have made.”

Giving Back To Those Who Served

http://www.sea2sea.org/

Tom’s life changing accident:
On 16th Sep 2009 Tom suffered a life threatening cycling accident in the Pyrenees which came close to ending his life and destroying his health. Tom was the victim of a freak ‘high impact’ collision with a mountain road which “broke my left eye socket and severely grazed the left side of my face.”

“However the most serious injury was my left hip which dislocated and smashed my left (acetabulum). The break is called a seagull pattern because it resembles a flock of seagulls in flight and has a high failure rate of healing.”

“I was taken to the hospital in Lourdes, France and was left with no money, wallet, passport, mobile phone, or insurance. In short, I was on my own. The French doctors who were treating me advised me to make arrangements to go to another hospital specialising in dealing with severe trauma accidents immediately as they were not equipped to do so. The alternative was to stay there for 3-4 months and risk being crippled for life.”

Tom was saved by a US Air Force Major who arranged a medevac flight to the US Landstuhl Regional Military Hospital in Germany which specialises in treating severe trauma patients (soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan).

“I was medevaced on 21st Sep and admitted into the same ward at Landstuhl as those active duty soldiers. The 2 1/2 weeks that I spent there changed my life. I witnessed for the first time in my life, the depth of sacrifice, devotion, and selflessness exhibited by the staff and the patients, all focused on trying to preserve the lifeblood of those men and women who were injured defending our countries and our way of life, and tragically those that paid the ultimate price.”

Tom was in intensive care and isolation for a number of weeks and suffered several complications including MRSA more than once. Tom is now back on the road to recovery and this summer cycled over the highest pass in the Swiss Alps.

“However, this is not the case for thousands of those who gave their lives for us, the hundreds of thousands whose lives are forever changed, as well as their families and friends. In short, they need our help, and more importantly, we owe them a debt that we can help to repay for the sacrifices that they have made.”

The web site address is: Sea2Sea, Giving Back To Those Who Served http://www.sea2sea.org/