- Friday, 13 July 2012
Tom Von Kaenel, 57, a retired American Serviceman has just completed a cycle ride of 4,412 miles across the USA from Sea2Sea to raise funds for UK and US servicemen. He recovered from life-threatening injuries and MRSA subsequent to a serious cycling accident in 2009 to achieve this epic feat.
The challenge started in April and finished on at 7pm on Saturday 7th July with a service at the Memorial Garden at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
Tom’s amazing journey has taken him right across the United States, Sea2Sea, from the West to the East coast. He left Seattle on 23 April and completed the ride at Washington DC on 4th July before returning to the UK on 7th July. He laid a wreath at the Cenotaph before his final cycle back to Brize Norton.
In a moving ceremony at the Memorial Garden Tom paid tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives in service for their country. “I would like to dedicate the very last part of the cycling challenge to those brave men who have paid the ultimate price.”
Every day on the journey across both the UK and America the team finished the ride with a ceremony to read the names of servicemen and women who have died since the fighting commenced following 9/11. Over 7,000 names have been read in total. Today names read out included those killed in the last few days such as Warrant Officer Leonard Thomas, 44, who was killed on 1st July.
Bruce Hamersley, driver and chronicler of the expedition read Ode to Remembrance from For the Fallen, the poem written by Laurence Binyon in 1914Tom said, “Every day this ceremony became the focal point of the day, when we remembered all the people who have died.”
This epic cycle ride took Tom through desert, over mountains and plains, in hail, sleet, snow, rain and sun. In Washington DC Tom said, “The journey has been quite remarkable; we are finishing with mixed emotions, the finish feels very good and an amazing achievement.
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