Survive. Recover. Live.
Rob Jones grew up on a farm in the small town of Lovettsville, Virginia. In his junior year at Virginia Tech, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve as a combat engineer at Bravo Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion in Roanoke, VA. In the Marine Corps, combat engineers are responsible for a multitude of disciplines but the primary role that Jones and his fellow combat engineers undertook was the use of explosives and the detection of buried IEDs and weapons caches.
He deployed to Habbaniyah, Iraq in 2008 and again in 2010 to Delaram/Sangin, Afghanistan. During his deployment to Afghanistan, while operating as a part of a push into Taliban territory, Jones was tasked with clearing an area with a high likelihood of containing an IED. Unfortunately, a land mine was buried and Rob was injured. The injury resulted in a left knee disarticulation and a right above knee amputation of my legs.
Initially, Jones was taken to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD for the initial phases of his recovery, which consisted primarily of healing and closing his wounds. He was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the remainder of his rehabilitation. At Walter Reed, Jones was fitted with prosthetics, and worked very hard to learn how to walk with two bionic knees. In addition, he had to relearn how to do other things with his new challenges including riding a bicycle, running, and rowing. He naturally took to rowing. In his ongoing search increase his quality of life, he decided to train for the 2012 Paralympics.
After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in December, 2011, Jones moved to Florida to train with his rowing
partner, Oksana. They spent five months there, and during that time, won the trunk and arms mixed double sculls trial race held by USRowing and became the USRowing national team for their boat class.
He and Oksana also won the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Belgrade to qualify for the Paralympics. To prepare for the Paralympics, they moved to Charlottesville, VA to continue training until the Paralympics event in September, 2012. Their hard work paid off, as they brought home a bronze medal in their event. Jones and Oksana continued in the sport of rowing through the 2013 season, where they placed 4th in the 2013 World Rowing Championships.
On October 14, 2013, Jones began a solo supported bike ride across America which started in Bar Harbor, ME, and ended in Camp Pendleton, CA. The ride was 5,180 miles long and completed on April 13, 2014, a total of 181 days after it began. Over the course of the ride, along with his team, Jones raised over $100,000 for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and Ride 2 Recovery, three charities which aid wounded veterans.
Between Fall 2014, and Summer 2016, Jones trained in the sport of triathlon with the intention to compete in the 2016 Paralympic Games. While he saw considerable personal improvement, he was unable to qualify.
Currently, Jones is planning to complete a month long back-to-back marathon challenge in which he will run 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different major cities to once again raise awareness and funds for wounded veteran charities.