When you face a situation that permanently changes the way you experience life, it can be tough to deal with. But with the right mindset and resources, there are ways to work around the problems and come away from them stronger than ever.
Just ask Robert Jones of the Lovettsville, Virginia, a man who hasn’t let anything slow him down, not even losing two limbs!
Marine sergeant Robert Jones lost his legs but found a passion for athletics.
While he was serving in Afghanistan back in 2010, United States Marine Corps sergeant Robert Jones stepped on an improvised explosive device. He survived the blast but lost the bottom of both legs.
It took him months to recover and he had to learn to walk on bionic knees. Later he learned to run on blades.
Something about those blades stuck with him. He had never been much of a serious athlete before, participating in a few sports in high school, but he suddenly felt compelled to give it his all in athletics.
“I saw an opportunity for myself to be an athlete in a way that I couldn’t have before,” he told the Military Times in 2017.
So he started training for the 2012 London Paralympic Games. He found a partner and competed in rowing events.
The pair saw great success, taking the bronze in mixed double sculls. Yet Jones wasn’t willing to just stop there.
Since winning a Paralympic medal he has completed some incredible feats of endurance.
In 2013, he rode his bike over 5,000 miles across America to raise money and awareness for wounded veterans. In 2017, he ran 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 cities across the U.S., United Kingdom, and Canada.
In the midst of all of this, Jones met Pamela Relph, a rower for the England team. The two fell in love and got married in 2017.
It’s evident that, over the past six years, Jones has accomplished a whole heck of a lot and that’s because of his personal philosophy (which also happens to be the name of his podcast) “Use the weight.”
Jones believes that the harder you lift, the stronger you will become, although he doesn’t mean it entirely literally.
“It’s about using challenges and tragedies to your advantage instead of being destroyed by them,” Jones told Marine Corps Times in 2018.
He was recently named Military Times Veteran of the Year.
Jones’s positive attitude and accomplishments have spurred on veterans and non-veterans alike to go beyond their limits and keep pushing themselves further. This is why he became the first ever veteran to be named the Military Times Veteran of the Year in 2018.
It has already been a big year for Jones. In June, he came away with multiple gold medals at the Marine Corps Trials and Warrior Games, beating a few able-bodied competitors.
This October, Jones will be competing in track and rowing at the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia. Until then, he will be traveling throughout the United States speaking to veterans and getting inspiration for his upcoming book.
“I want to show other vets who have experienced trauma that there’s a path,” he said. “A reason to continue fighting.”
Considering how Jones has helped fellow veterans in the past, I’m sure that they’d be more than willing to hear his inspiring message.