In 2010, Rob Jones was deployed to Afghanistan where an IED exploded, resulting in the above-the-knee amputation of both his legs.
Story over, right? Wrong.
Rob is a Marine, through and through. So the loss of his legs did not stop him. There is a Marine saying, “Semper Fidelis,” and it means “Always Faithful.” Rob has stayed always faithful to his mission of making his life count.
This past year, after winning many Paralympic honors, he decided to embark on a new challenge aimed at raising awareness of veterans’ issues, and raising funds for charities that have helped him in the past. His remarkable goal was to run 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days, in 31 different cities.
For people who have ever run marathons, they know how challenging running 26.2 miles in a day can be. Now picture doing the same thing day after day for 31 days.
If you’re not intimidated yet, now picture doing it on prosthetic legs.
Yet with that same spirit of Semper Fidelis that undoubtedly once inspired him to be a Marine, Rob did just that. His journey took him across the United States and as far away as London, England. On Nov, 11, 2017, he finished his challenge at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
But his mission is not yet complete.
When I last checked, he had raised $205,000 toward his goal $1,000,000 for three worthy organizations, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation which helps veterans and first responders by building them adaptive homes; the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes which provides financial assistance to post-9/11 veterans; and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund which helps families of veterans by providing them with adaptive homes, equipment, vehicles, and other support programs.
At this time of year, when inspiration abounds, Rob Jones’ story strikes at the heart. But when I reached out to him and told him what an inspiration he was to me, he shared with me how inspired he was by all the veterans who came out to support him as he ran.
He told me, “I am inspired by every veteran that has come before me. I am inspired by their willingness to sacrifice for an idea that they care about more than themselves, and for people they care about more than themselves. This is how I was able to accomplish my mission.”
The holiday season is coming soon, and as we look back on our own accomplishments of the past year, and look ahead to the things we want to do in 2019, we can all be inspired by Rob to make our lives count, no matter what challenges we face.
To learn more about Rob and support his efforts, go to www.RobJonesJourney.com.