A native of Clemson, Tom VonKaenel graduated from West Point in 1977 and served 20 years in the US Army as an infantry officer and strategic planner. He relocated to England in 1997 and served six years in the Financial Services Industry as a senior compliance manager, in Oxfordshire County Council as the business manager for the Chief Executive, and as a business consultant for small to medium businesses.
He returned to the US in 2012 and is currently a Veteran advocate for the Upstate.
He served as the 2019-2021 President of the Clemson Sunrise Rotary Club, a service organization active in local community causes, raising over $20,000 for 15 local charities.
He is also past President of Purple Heart Homes Golden Corner Chapter, a 501(c)3 military non-profit charity that renovates disabled veterans’ homes in the local area, making basic repairs like building ramps and installing grab bars and helped to lead 20 projects in the Tri-County area.
Tom also served as past President of the local Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Keowee Chapter and serves local veterans and advises the Clemson Student Veterans Association.
Tom has bicycled across America twice to raise awareness of military deployed, the service members that we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, and current veterans’ needs.
Currently he also coordinates local suicide prevention/intervention workshops yearly in the local area for veterans, first responders, firefighters, police, and health care professionals.
Tom recently married Doris Doughty and has one son in the military.
They live on a small farm in Six Mile with two cats, twenty one chickens, and about 5 billion fire ants.
Tom (in yellow jacket) at Kingman Arizona in 2014 honoring local veterans during his last bike ride.