The Times West Virginian

Local News

January 21, 2013

Making lives better

Chuck Von Kaenel uses experience to help others end substance abuse

FAIRMONT — When Chuck Von Kaenel was growing up, he was rebellious.

Because of his actions in high school, he had the choice of going to jail or into the military. He chose the military.

And that’s where his use of drugs and alcohol began.

Von Kaenel began smoking cigarettes, “joints” and drinking often while in the service to help him cope with the thought of not knowing if he was going to return home or not.

“It was something to calm you down and give you peace,” Von Kaenel said.

While in the service, he said trouble seemed to follow him.

“I’d get promoted and then I’d get busted,” he said. “It just kept coming back.”

After the military, Von Kaenel got a job but his habits were still with him — he continued to smoke and drink.

“I was an alcoholic,” he said. “I tried drugs. I mean, I’ve tried the world.”

In 1975 when Von Kaenel was in his 30s, his substance abuse problem got to the point where he started thinking about committing suicide. At the time, it was the only thing that made sense — even if he was high.

“I had just drawn four lines of cocaine and finished a fifth of scotch,” he said.

Von Kaenel remembers being in Cleveland, Ohio, sitting in his car looking across the street at an opening that led to a 200-foot drop.

“I was going to drive through there and go down the hill,” he said. “There were railroad tracks about 200 feet below it.”

Von Kaenel also had two five-gallon gas tanks in the back of his car.


Full story

Text Only
Local News
  • UMW Rally UPDATE: Roberts and Caputo arrested during UMW Pittsburgh rally

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorhead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fairmont bank robbery suspect in custody

    Officers from the Fairmont Police Department and the West Virginia State Police responded to an armed robbery Thursday morning at WesBanco in Marion Square.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMW leaders at rally: ‘We will stand up and fight’

    Several United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders spoke at a labor rally in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

    July 31, 2014

  • image.jpg HAPPENING NOW: UMW's Roberts says EPA rules will 'devastate Appalachia'

    During a press conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center United Miner Workers of America (UMW) president Cecil Roberts talked about the reason why 5,000 miners and their families are protesting the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alva Groves Family -ts.jpg After 63 years, remains of Korean War veteran coming home

    After 63 years, the remains of a Korean War veteran are coming home.
    Those remains are of Cpl. Alva Clifford Groves, of Four States, who lost his life during the Korean War. Groves will be brought home to West Virginia on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • UMW to protest EPA Clean Power Plan

    Members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) will be gathering today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to protest the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan.
    Mike Caputo, vice president of UMW International District 31, will be one of the many Marion County and North Central West Virginia members participating in the rally and march at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

    July 31, 2014

  • Alecto executive to speak at chamber dinner

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s 61st annual dinner is putting a spotlight on the future of Fairmont General Hospital.
    The keynote speaker for this year’s event, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 13, is Mike Sarrao, executive vice president of Alecto Healthcare Services, the company that is in the process of purchasing Fairmont General Hospital.

    July 31, 2014

  • Korean War Veterans Memorial gets funds

    The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Marion County is closer to completion thanks to an allocation from the county commission.
    During Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners passed a motion to allocate $5,000 to the memorial. The money came from the county’s coal severance tax fund.

    July 31, 2014

  • Fairmont man faces heroin charges

    A Fairmont man has been arrested on heroin charges.
    Tyrell Anthony Smith, 24, of Fairmont, was arrested Tuesday by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and has been charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin.

    July 31, 2014

  • Alecto executive to speak at chamber dinner

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s 61st annual dinner is putting a spotlight on the future of Fairmont General Hospital.

    July 30, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads