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Posted: Apr 14, 2014 10:27 PM EDT | Updated: Apr 14, 2014 10:27 PM EDT
By Lauren Phinney - email
Rob Jones completed his journey on Saturday, and there's one thing for sure, he's a man on a mission to raise $1 million for three different charities that are dedicated to helping wounded vets like himself. On April 12th, Jones finished his remarkable venture: 5,200 miles on a bicycle from Ben Harbor, Maine to Camp Pendleton.
"I feel great," said the paralympian.
During the six month journey, through the middle of winter, he was met by supporters and fellow veterans cheering him along. The 28-year-old is a former sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves. In 2010, while serving in Afghanistan, he was hit by an improvised explosive device - both legs had to be amputated above the knee. For Rob's family, it was clear early on that even without legs, he wasn't going to be stopped.
"Well at first, you're scared like any normal parent would be and stuff, but it only took him a few days before you could see his attitude was 'this isn't gonna get me down, this is not the end of anything,'" said father Lenny Jones.
And that message is what Rob lives by; his Team Rob motto is survive, recover, live.
"It's just a thought that I had in the hospital, the first couple weeks there," stated Rob. "I just think it really personifies overcoming a traumatic event, and that you survive it, recover from it and then you move on past it."
And that's just what he did when he won a bronze medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games. Now, he's making the next move. As he prepares to head home to Virginia, he's honored with a hero's send-off. The DoubleTree Hilton in Del Mar hosted a brunch to wish him safe travels home - a hotel chain that provided rooms to Rob during his journey. But it was his determination and effort to raise money for charities that help injured vets that caught the attention of people everywhere. Even California congressman Darrel Issa; his staff was on hand to award Rob with a congressional certificate of special recognition.
"One of the things I did think about in the beginning was 'what is his life going to be like now?' So seeing what's he's accomplished right now, it's like I don't have to worry," said mother Carol Miller.
And neither does Rob - with Team Rob by his side, there's no stopping him.
"It really would not have been the same without all of you," said Rob at the podium of the ceremony. "It would have been a lot less successful."
As for his next goal, Rob says he'd like to do a triathlon or stand-up comedy. Rob has already raised over $115,000 for his three charities: the Semper Fi fund, Salute America's Heroes and Ride to Recovery. If you'd like to help, you can go to his website at www.robjonesjourney.com.