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Beaverton stop part of Army veteran's cross-country bicycle odyssey

Tom von Kaenel's arrival at Veterans Park on way to Alaska to coincide with memorial service


Tom von Kaenel, a retired American soldier living in Six Mile, S.C., will arrive on bicycle at Beaverton Veterans Memorial Park, Southwest Watson Avenue at Seventh Street, around 5 p.m. on Friday as part of the bi-annual Sea2Sea Challenge.

The ride, which covers the United States from its southernmost tip at Key West, Fla., to its northernmost state, Juneau, Alaska, will take about 120 days and cover approximately 7,000 miles.

An integral part of this journey is a ceremony at the end of the ride on each day to remember those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This ceremony to honor fallen Oregonian service members will coincide with Kaenel's 5 p.m. arrival at Veterans Park. Members of the public are invited to attend.

The first Sea2Sea challenge took place the spring of 2012 when Von Kaenel and a small team cycled from Ocean Shores, Wash., and finished at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on July 4. The team covered 4,200 miles in 74 days.

This year's challenge is different in two ways: Von Kaenel is cycling alone, relying on knowledge and assistance from local communities and cycling clubs; and there is no dedicated vehicle for support or overnight accommodation on this self-supporting journey.

He is looking for local churches, civic halls, or families that could host him overnight as he cycles from city to city/town to town.

The Sea2Sea 2014 Challenge's has two goals:

• To remember fallen soldiers and establish a long range program to

establish an Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial in each U.S. 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, D.C., and

• To continue to help those that they left behind. Partnering with selected 501(c)3 organizations across the country, the group will continue to highlight the challenges that service members, veterans, and their families face and how others can help.

Von Kaenel will be available as time allows for short visits and talks to local schools, organizations, and businesses.

Local community and veteran organizations and military 501(c)3 charities are invited to participate by providing brief remarks to the local community on the challenges that veterans and their families face, specifically how the local community can reach out to local veterans in ways that will best benefit the veteran, their family and the community, noted Terry Ryan, Sea2Sea co-organizer.

For a detailed sequence of events and more information, visit sea2sea.org or fb.com/sea2sea1.



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