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/

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