Life after legs has its ups and downs. A pro/con list of obstacles and opportunities, if you will. Pro, you’re still alive. Con, you can’t run, walk down hill, or climb a ladder. Con, you’ve lost too many friends in war. Pro, you gain true friends. Friends who not only see beyond your physical injury, but straight into your soul. People who see you unchanged, if not enhanced with strength and determination. Perhaps that’s the greatest Pro, the people who come into your life!
For those who don’t know me, I lost my legs in a precarious situation in a little place called Afghanistan serving as a Marine Bomb (EOD) Tech on August 6, 2010. My life after legs started the moment I arrived at Walter Reed 4 days later. Meg, Braiden, and my family were there from the beginning. The care and sacrifice they made to get me “back on my feet” is to this day undeserved and under-appreciated. I do my best. However, we all quickly learned just how much of a community effort putting Staff Sgt. Jones back together again really was. Enter: Boot Campaign.
I like to say I found Boot Campaign riding down the road listening to the radio, but I think we really found each other. Here was a Marine in desperate need of a purpose beyond his own situation, and a flourishing passionate group of patriots with good use for a bored Marine who talks too much. Since connecting at the tail end of my recovery, we have gone through it all together. The ups and downs, as I call it. We have grown, learned, laughed, loved, and lived as a community of people personally invested in awakening patriots and introducing new audiences to our heroes. It has been a challenge more daunting than the IEDs of war and a reward more satisfying than any medal pinned upon my chest. It has been a remarkable journey.
Today, we begin a new chapter in our lives together, Boot Campaign and me. I will no longer fulfill the role of Chief Operating Officer. I will continue to serve as an Ambassador, advisor, and perhaps my most important role yet ,“an energetic volunteer.” Like any driving force or agents of positive change, Boot Campaign and I still have a path ahead to forge. With new family goals and personal aspirations, I have realized my own passions are even broader than my beloved veteran community. With this momentum of change, I have accepted a role in communications and brand management at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground and Camp Southern Ground. Like my time as COO of Boot Campaign, I embark upon this next challenge with vigor and excitement. However, I am not leaving Boot Campaign behind. We are forever a part of one another’s lives. Me, a humble Marine, and you all, the vast community of motivated patriots.
I stopped closing the good chapters in my life a long time ago, instead I keep the book open and wait for the next exciting turn of the page. I am proud to have served as a leader in a movement so selfless as Boot Campaign; furthermore, I am humbled to continue telling every one I meet, “Get Your Boots On.” I wish the Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers tremendous success as you carry our dream forward. I wont just be on the sidelines cheering, I’ll simply be by your side in a different way. God bless and thank you!