Category Archives: Veteran’s Day

Veteran Brings Hope and Awareness During 5K

 Gabriela Cabrera, Staff Writer

gabby story pic

Photo by Gabriela Cabrera 

An amputee veteran stopped in North Carolina to complete a marathon as part of his mission to bring awareness to disabled veterans and raise money for his cause.

Rob Jones is running 31 marathons in 31 days to raise money for veterans overcoming challenges. Jones arrived in Charlotte, N.C this past Thursday to complete one of his marathons at Freedom Park.

Jones said that he hopes his journey resonates with people, and that they see it as inspiration to make themselves better.

“Instead of seeing tragedy or hardship as something that’s blocking your path or getting in your way, see it as an opportunity to get stronger,” said Jones.

In 2010, Jones stepped on a mine in Afghanistan while alerting his patrol to IEDs. The resulting injuries inspired him to bring awareness to other veterans.

“I knew at this point that I’m alive and I’m going to have the best life possible,” Jones said during an interview on the “Jocko” podcast in September.

Since the traumatic event, Jones has overcome his injury to pursue a new mission: Raising money for veterans and bringing awareness to the community about veterans who struggle to rejoin society.

In his blog, Jones said he searched for challenges that he could use to become better. These challenges included competing in the 2012 Paralympics and biking 5,200 miles across the country.

“Over the course of the ride I raised $126,000 for the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and Ride 2 Recovery, three charities which aid wounded veterans,” said Jones.

Supporters gathered around Rob Jones as he thanked them for coming out to Freedom Park.

Madeline Schildwachter, an employee for the Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit that provides programs to assist wounded veterans, said she is inspired by Rob Jones and his mission.

“When you think about someone who does the Couch to 5K program that in itself is an incredible feat. To just start something new and complete it makes me in total awe of those people,” said Schildwachter. “Then you have Rob and I’m just like ‘you are out of this world.’”

Jones made it his mission to raise $1 million for charities that had helped him during his time in rehab.

Pamela Jones, the wife of the veteran, said Jones is an example of someone who has gone through something completely traumatic that could halt everyone in their tracks.

“Rob is always telling me ‘Thank God it happened to me and not someone who wasn’t able to cope with it,’” said Pamela.

She said Jones believes this happened to him for a reason and that he now has the power to change people’s perception and to be an example to other veterans.

Pamela said Jones has enjoyed running in every city so far since each is so different, but there are some cities that really stand out to them.

“Charlotte is definitely the biggest turnout which is amazing,” said Pamela. “In Boston, he finished the run and there were bagpipes at the finish.”

Pamela said in both San Francisco and San Diego there were some younger kids who were inspired by Rob and ran the marathon with him.

 However, in some cities they didn’t get the same reaction.

“In Memphis it was really quiet. We only had about five people come out,” said Pamela. “It was really horrible weather. In the last five miles of the run there was this torrential downpour.”

 Despite the smaller turnouts, Pamela said the whole month has been really amazing.

After finishing the race in Washington D.C. this past week, Jones’ message continues to touch those around the world.

Pamela said Rob is trying to be a beacon of hope for those who have gone through traumatic experiences.

Edited by Harrison Taylor and Dustin Kiggins

Wounded veteran runs 29th marathon in Charlotte

Katlyn Batts, Staff Writer

A former Marine who lost his legs in combat, Rob Jones, ran his 29th marathon out of 31 in Charlotte this past Thursday as a part of his Month of Marathons journey.

“Plenty of Americans want to help veterans and that’s one thing I want to prove doing this,” said Jones.

According to Pam Jones, Rob’s wife, Charlotte was the largest crowd they have had on their journey thus far. Veterans, Queens University track and field team, military supporters, all the way to a 7-week-old baby girl were at the race to support or run beside Rob.

“We are just really inspired by this story and coming up on Veterans Day we felt it was very important to support Jones and veterans,” 14 year-old runner Jake Honeycutt said. Honeycutt has never run a marathon, but planned to run the first loop with his father.

A lot of preparation went into this journey and Jones’ wife and mother both helped him every step of the way.

“I drive the RV and coordinate with the media now, but before we started I did meal-prep and planned the month ahead… all Rob has to focus on is running, eating, sleeping, and talking to the cameras,” said Pam.

Coordinating with the media is extremely important, according to Pam. Every time Rob is seen on television there is a massive boost in donations, and raising money for wounded veterans is one of his goals on this journey and in life.

“Currently he has raised about $120,000. He has set a goal to raise $1 million in his lifetime,” said Pam.

His mother also joined him on his journey as his personal massage therapist.

“It has been a real privilege… it is important not to be negative for him. I try and let him do his thing even if I am sitting back here nervous,” said Rob’s mother, Carol Miller.

Rob has been an athlete since he was discharged from the Marines. Just two years after he lost his legs, he won a bronze medal in rowing at the Paralympics in London. He competed in the World Rowing Championship the following year, where he placed fourth. Also in that year he biked 5,180 miles across the United States. Rob also completed the Nation’s Triathlon.

Everyday 22 veterans commit suicide. Rob wants to puts a positive spin on his circumstance and be a light to other wounded veterans.

He says, “Thank God it happened to me and not to someone who could not cope with it,” said Pam.

Rob knows he can be a beacon of light to other veterans and he does not take this opportunity lightly, but every day this forces him to get up and be excited, happy and joyful about life so he can inspire others.

“Instead of seeing tragedy or hardship as something that is blocking your path or getting in your way, seeing it as an opportunity to grow stronger, something that you can use to make yourself better,” said Rob.

His journey has received national attention and he has received letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs and state representatives of support for his journey. Some mayors have even come out to his events, although no state or city representatives attended in Charlotte. Rob and his wife hope to have many people and military leaders at the run on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.

Rob and his wife are currently building a house in Loudoun County, Va., and plan to take a few months off, but according to his wife, Rob hopes to try out for the Invictus games in the future. They are taking donations on their website. 

 

Edited by: Cierra Smith and Ryan MacKintosh