A picture of Representative Matt Cartwright
Matthew C.
Democrat PA 17

About Rep. Matthew
  • In Recognition of Thomas J. Keeney for His Dedication and Service to the Wilkes-Barre Knights of Columbus

    by Representative Matt Cartwright

    Posted on 2015-01-21

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    CARTWRIGHT of pennsylvania in the house of representatives Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Mr. CARTWRIGHT. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in recognition of Thomas J. Keeney, past Grand Knight of the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Knights of Columbus Council 302. Mr. Keeney was born on July 3, 1946. His father, a Major in the army, was stationed in Arkansas, Japan, and New Jersey and took the Keeney family with him as he traveled around the world. In 1964, Thomas graduated from Coughlin High School in Wilkes-Barre and currently resides in Plains with his wife, Karen.

    After finishing high school, Thomas Keeney joined the air force in the winter of 1965. He was trained as an aircraft mechanic at Lackland Air Force Base and Sheppard Air Force Base. Upon completing his training, he was stationed at RAF Lakenheath Air Base in England. At Lakenheath, Thomas served as a Crew Chief on F-100D & F aircraft. While in England, Thomas married Irene V. Tucker. In the summer of 1968, they were blessed with their first son Patrick. Thomas finished his service with the air force in 1969, leaving with the rank of Sergeant.

    When he returned to the United States, Thomas settled back in Wilkes- Barre and had his second child, Maurita. He took a job as a laborer at the Pressed Steel Plant on Penn Avenue. Thomas entered the apprentice program for Plumbers with Pipe Fitters Local 147 of Wilkes-Barre in 1970. He completed his apprenticeship in 1974 with Scranton's Local 90. As a journeyman plumber, he worked with many contractors in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Thomas left the construction industry to work for the City of Wilkes-Barre, as a member of the city's sewer department. In 1985, he returned to the construction industry where he worked for Penn State Mechanical as a plumber, welder, and foreman. While working with Penn State Mechanical, he obtained his Masters Certificate in Plumbing and Heating with the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. In 1995, as a Plumbing Trade Instructor for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Thomas helped prepare inmates for a job in the plumbing trade after rehabilitation. After working for the Department of Corrections, he went on to be a caretaker for Camp Raninu and then took a position with the VA, before he retired in 2011.

    Thomas Keeney also served his country with distinction as an army reservist in the 79th Army Regional Command. Starting in 1974, Thomas was a Specialist 4 Welder with the 365th Engineers of Wilkes-Barre. When he left the Engineers, Thomas had attained the rank of Sergeant. Thomas then joined the 300th Field Hospital Unit and was retrained as a combat medic. He was then promoted to Sergeant First Class and reassigned to the NCOIC of the 338th Medical Group Headquarters in Folsom, Pennsylvania. At Folsom, Thomas was responsible for the care and training of the soldiers assigned to the Medical Group Headquarters. After serving at Folsom, Thomas returned to Wilkes-Barre, where he served with the 424th Military Police Liaison Team as the Senior Medic and Instructor. While with the 424th, Thomas was responsible for all medical and environmental issues for setup and operation of military POW camps in the U.S. and overseas. After being promoted to Master Sergeant, he was sent to the Regional Command Headquarters at Willow Grove, Pennsylvania to be a Senior Medic for the 79th ARCOM. Thomas retired from the army reserves when the 79th ARCOM was disbanded in spring 1996.

    Additionally, Thomas has served as a member of the Knights of Columbus for a number of years. He has been the Grand Knight twice, first from 1998 to 2000 and recently from 2012 until 2014. He was also a District Deputy for the Pennsylvania Knights of Columbus and Faithful Navigator of the Bishop Hafey Assembly Fourth Degree Knights.

    In addition, Thomas has been involved with many organizations. He was the past President of the Wilkes-Barre Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, where he currently holds the position of Secretary. He has also served as the President of Council 302 Home Association and was a former Trustee of the Plumbers Local 90.

    It is an honor to recognize Mr. Keeney for his service to the Knights of Columbus and all of his achievements. He is a true patriot, and I applaud him for his dedication to his country and the work he has done for his community.


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