SPECIAL NOTE: An incredible story of an incredible man because he did something so incredible as a man without the real legs…a double amputee. Some people just do not give up despite the obvious tragedies in life. Nothing could deter these people from achieving their dreams and their goals in life…and we thank them for their incredible feats despite what would seem impossible to many of us mortal beings, weak and without the drive and determination to overcome serious difficulties in our lives…especially one without legs. Share this wonderful story with your friends, because many of us need inspiration to live and survive in this difficult world of today! If he can do it…how come I cannot do it with all my physical parts intact and strong and functioning. How come he could it…that will continue to haunt many of us, healthy, strong and simple human beings! Maybe he is a god, or something. Maybe he is just different from all of us…how and in what ways? Share the story with your friends and people you care and love…we all can learn from each other…whether we are up or down in our lives. Steve November 16
Mission accomplished: Amputee does 31 marathons in 31 days
Tom Schad – USA TODAY – Sunday, November 12, 2017
WASHINGTON — The sun was still rising over the National Mall on Saturday morning when Rob Jones hoisted himself out of an RV near the Lincoln Memorial and stepped out into the November chill, his prosthetic legs bending slightly as they touched the ground.
On the morning of Veterans Day, this 32-year-old veteran woke up to run a marathon — the last in a remarkable month full of them. In early October, he set out to run 31 marathons over 31 days in 31 major cities, with the goal of raising $1 million for three veterans’ charities — and global awareness for veterans’ issues. His journey took him to three countries, 22 states and, on Saturday morning, to the National Mall.
“I can’t think of a better place to be on Veterans Day than down here,” Jones said, “the place in our country where we honor our veterans the most.”
For the past month, Jones lived in an RV with a small support system: His wife, Pam, his mother, Carol and a friend, who handled the driving. They started out in London on Oct. 12 and drove approximately 9,600 miles, zig-zagging across the U.S. — and, for one day, Canada.
At every stop, Jones would wake up, strap on his prosthetics and run 26.2 miles. And on every run, he’d be joined by fellow veterans, fans or casual runners, wanting to show their support.
“I’m trying to just get a story out there about a veteran,” Jones said. “Went to Afghanistan. Had a traumatic experience. Lost both my legs. But I was still able to come home and find my new way that I was going to contribute to my country and stay in the fight. I just want to get that story out there so people can use it.”
Jones joined the Marine Corps as a combat engineer nearly a decade ago and served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, he was tasked with finding and clearing improvised explosive devices on a mission in southern Afghanistan when one of them detonated, resulting in the amputation of both legs above the knee.
The Vienna, Va., resident was flown back to the U.S., where doctors at Walter Reed fitted him with prosthetic legs. He taught himself how to walk again. Then, he really started moving.
Jones qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in rowing and won a bronze medal in his event, meeting his wife, a Paralympic athlete herself, along the way. Then, in 2013, he completed a solo bike ride from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Camp Pendleton, Calif., — a 5,180-mile trek over 181 days, during which he raised $126,000 for wounded veterans.
Jones’ original idea this time, his wife said, was to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, but that had already been done before. He wanted to do something authentic, something memorable, and the “month of marathons” idea stuck.
“He could’ve done 28 days and done a month, the shortest month,” Pam Jones said. “But he would never have been satisfied unless he made it as hard as he could for that challenge.”
And so off they went, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Albuquerque and Memphis. The humidity in Houston was brutal, Jones said. In Nashville, he slipped on a wooden bridge and fell on his behind, injuring his back.
The challenges of running a marathon every day are evident, but other obstacles were unforeseen. Running out of water in the middle of the night, for example. Motion sickness while trying to eat during a trip from one city to the next. And, of course, the soreness.
“Things never really fully heal,” Jones said. “Today, stuff hurts pretty bad. But at the same time, it’s the last day. So I can tough it out one more time.”
Jones spoke while taking a break Saturday after the first leg of his marathon. For the better part of seven hours, he ran laps around the National Mall, past the reflecting pool and the World War II Memorial and various loops in between, stopping every seven or eight miles to refuel and rehydrate.
As he huddled under a blanket, Jones was visited by one of the nurses who treated him at the hospital all those years ago. Fellow veterans inspired by his journey came over just to shake his hand. Major Ryan Cohen, his commander on that mission in Afghanistan, joined Jones on the first part of the run and returned to cheer him on.
“He was the fire within the company,” Cohen said. “There’s no better example in our country than men like Rob Jones.”
At the end, supporters and passersby lined up in front of the Lincoln Memorial and held a piece of red tape to mark the finish line. Jones smiled and clapped his hands as he completed his mission, turning to kiss his wife, thank the crowd and do a television interview. As of early Saturday afternoon, his 812.2-mile run had raised roughly $135,000 for veterans’ groups. And Jones knows there is still much more to be done.
“I want people to know that a wounded veteran is not a broken veteran,” he said. “A wounded veteran is just somebody that needs to find their new path, and how they’re going to keep fighting and keep contributing to their country. Each veteran is their own person. You just have to get to know them, and listen to their story.”
To donate to the three veterans’ organizations that Jones is supporting — The Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation, The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and The Semper Fi Fund — visit RobJonesJourney.com/donate.