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

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

Prepping for the journey

Hello from the foothills at the Blue Ridge Mountains! Tom here, getting ready for the 2nd Sea2Sea journey.  I depart from Clemson, SC on Mar 1st, will bicycle down to Key West, FL, then across the US up to Washington State, through Canada, to arrive at Juneau, AK by July 4.  This will be about 6600 miles and will be self supporting (I’ll be carrying my own ‘stuff’).

It has been called ambitious & daunting, but no less so than the challenges that hundreds of thousands veterans and their families face on a daily basis.

I promise not to be so serious in the other blogs, but want to emphasize why we’re doing this again:

We have two goals:

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.

We feel that it is 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. We are starting this program in each state that we are cycling through during this trip and will continue with trips through all the States until completed.

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, Purple Heart Homes, Wounded Warrior Project, Augusta Warrior Project), we will continue to highlight the challenges that service members, veterans, and their families face and how all of us can help.

The ride is different from two years ago in two respects:

1. I am currently cycling, self-supporting the entire distance alone, relying on knowledge and assistance from local communities and cycling clubs and those that wish or are able to cycle any part of the distance.

2. There is no dedicated vehicle for support or overnight accommodation – this is a self-supporting journey (I’m carrying all my stuff with me). Therefore I welcome local churches, civic halls, or families that could host me overnight as I cycle from city to city/town to town.

Also different from last time, instead of asking for corporate sponsorships and donations, we are encouraging all these kinds of donations and sponsorships be given to the local military charities (501(c)3 organizations) throughout the route.

I’ll be adding a short blog very frequently as well as Facebook & Twitter. The intent is to capture the faces and places of this great country of ours. Despite our challenges, we are blessed to here in America and to have the world’s best military defending our country.

Our challenge as citizens is to provide the military and their families with the best support during their service and when they transition back to the local communities across the US. They have raised their game to keep us safe, and now is the time to ensure that we respond in kind by raising our game to give back in the way that works best for them and the local community.

I’ll provide a route overview and how I’ve prepared for the trip in a future blog.

Til then, when you next see a veteran or his/her family, consider adding three words to the phrase that they often hear and appreciate. ‘Thank you for your service’. Those three words are: How can I thank you for your service.

Take care, be safe, God Bless,

Tom