SIX MILE, S.C. (WSPA) – Down a windy road off the grid in Central, South Carolina you’ll find the Semper Fi Barn. While there, you’ll probably meet some veterans and one of them is Tom Von Kaenel.

“I went to West Point and then after that, I graduated in 77 to be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the infantry,” Von Kaenel said. “And I thought I’d followed my dad’s footsteps. He was in World War Two in Korea.”

The Semper FI Barn is located on Von Kaenel’s property.

He named it the Semper Fi Barn because he said it was a group of Marines who helped him bring the idea to life.

Semper Fidelis means always faithful and Von Kaenel said the name was a great way to remind veterans that they were always cared for and thought about.

But Von Kaenel isn’t a Marine veteran, instead, he’s a 20-year Army veteran in the infantry.

“From 1977 to 97, I spent 12 years in Germany. So I was up on the border from 1978 to 1981,” Von Kaenel told 7NEWS. “So I saw the East German border. The fence, the minefields, the guard dogs. Everything was there when they declared martial law in Poland. I was there when Russia invaded Afghanistan.”

Von Kaenel said getting out of the Army, like many veterans, was a hard transition.

“There’s no restraints, and you’re looking around and you think, ‘what am I going to do? How am I going to do it? And how do I find my we used to call it find my tribe? How do we find our social networks?'” Von Kaenel explained. “Which was really a struggle for me for a long time.”

And that’s how the barn was born.

“But then after a while, I was able to find my true purpose in life,” Von Kaenel said. “And my purpose in life is this barn. So in coming, coming back to Six Mile, I’ve found my tribe, which is wonderful.”

Von Kaenel said the purpose of the barn is for veterans and their friends and families to relax, remember, and restore themselves.

“There is no person that can understand a veteran better than another veteran,” he said. “And it’s not just for veterans, it’s for their families too, for their wives or husbands or their kids or their grandkids.”

It’s a casual atmosphere and a grassroots effort that’s grown to what it is by word of mouth.

The Semper Fi Barn also offers veterans a helping hand when they need it and a place to be seen and heard.

“If you want to stay for a night, no drugs unless they’re prescribed. No alcohol, no guns,” Von Kaenel said. “And I don’t need to see any of your military records, I just need to find out who your sponsor is.”

Von Kaenel said his goals for the barn are endless and his dreams are limitless.

“The barn will outlast us,” he shared. “I envision this five, six acres being a compound or a collection of buildings, workshops where people can come and they can do a number of whether it’s back to work programs or it’s social skills or social needs.”

He said he hopes it continues to grow and give back to the community, but especially gives back to veterans, to feed their sense of purpose.

Tom Von Kaenel, thank you for your service.

To learn more about the Semper Fi Barn, click here.