By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
Rob Jones, a wounded U.S. Marine veteran of the Afghanistan war, spent a night in Berea this week as part of a bicycle tour across the United States to raise money for the charities that helped him recover from his injuries.
There’s a catch, however, Jones’ legs were amputated above the knee as a result of the injuries he sustained in combat.
While clearing an area of Afghanistan in 2010, he was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) according to information from Jones’ website. He recovered at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., before being transferred to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for rehabilitation. There, Jones was fitted for prosthetics, and he challenged himself to get back more than just the ability to walk.
“I was determined to relearn how to ride an upright bicycle again,” Jones said on his website. “Despite many difficulties, thanks to the innovation of my prosthetist Zach, and the help of Brian Bartlett from Left Side Industries, and Ray Clark from Ride to Recovery, we managed to get me up and cycling in only six months.”
In 2011, Jones participated in the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C. While competing, he came up with the idea of biking across America to benefit the charities that had helped him so much.
Jones’ journey began in the fall of 2013 in Maine.
From there, he traveled south and is currently making his way across the central United States. While in Berea, he stayed at Boone Tavern Hotel. He was extended courtesies by the Berea Police Department and was cheered on his way by city officials and residents and who offered their support.
Jones said he chose the route to make the ride as challenging as he reasonably could.
His goal is to raise at least $1 million for the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, The Semper Fi Fund, and Ride 2 Recovery. According to his website, Jones is self-funding the trip so that all the proceeds will go directly to the charities.
For more details, or to make a donation to one or all of the charities Jones is riding for, visit www.robjonesjourney.com.