Los Angeles, CA, April 03, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- Rob Jones has never taken the easy route in life. So it’s no surprise that the U.S. Paralympian and combat-wounded retired Marine chose Bar Harbor, Maine, as the starting point for an epic cross-country cycling trek. More than 5,000 miles and six months later, he’ll arrive in San Diego next week.
A hero’s welcome awaits on Saturday, April 12, at Camp Pendleton, complete with local and national dignitaries, senior military officials and several surprise guests.
What makes Rob’s journey so unique is that he is pedaling his bicycle across the nation with prosthetic legs. During his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan, the Marine combat engineer was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in double above-knee amputations of both his legs.
“Most people don’t understand just how difficult it is to ride a bike with prostheses,” Rob explained. “Everyone else uses their quads, calves and glutes to pedal, while I am only able to use my glutes. It’s extremely challenging, but I’m determined to achieve my goal.”
Rob is no stranger to world-class achievements. In 2012, he and his partner won a Bronze Medal at the Paralympic Games in London in the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double Sculls event. He has competed in the Marine Corps 10K (6.2 miles), the Army 10-Miler, the Charlottesville Half Marathon, the CFI Mini Triathlon and the Nation’s Olympic Distance Triathlon (a .9-mile swim, 24-mile bike, and a 6.2-mile run). Rob was named USA Rowing’s 2012 Man of the Year.
Rob left from Bar Harbor, Maine, on October 14 and headed south along the Atlantic seaboard to Blacksburg, VA, where he pivoted west and began the cross-continental march to San Francisco. He is now near Los Angeles and on the home stretch toward his personal finish line in San Diego. By then, he will have covered 5,400 miles, averaging 30 miles per day.
Why is he doing this?
“It’s simple, really. I am committed to giving back to the charitable organizations that were there for me in my darkest hours,” he says. “They helped me stand back up on new legs, learn how to walk again, then ride a bike again, then become a world-class rower. Now, with the help of patriotic and generous Americans, I am attempting to pay it forward so those organizations can help even more wounded soldiers, like me, in their time of greatest need.”
Virtually unique among other ambitious fundraising initiatives, 100 percent of the money donated to Rob Jones’ Journey goes to the charities he is supporting: The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
, the Semper Fi Fund and Ride 2 Recovery. Prior to starting off, Rob secured enough funds to purchase the equipment needed to complete his trip. His brother has been following him in a support vehicle throughout the journey and they have relied on the kindness of fellow Americans for an occasional meal and overnight accommodations. But all cash donations made through his web site, www.RobJonesJourney.com, are passing directly through to the charities.
His Olympic-sized fundraising goal: $1 million.
“It’s important to me that people know I’m not getting anything out of this financially,” Rob explained. “While I have accepted a couple of in-kind sponsorships from companies that want to support me, any cash they provide goes straight to the charities. Just like the funds individuals donate. This is truly all about giving back.”
Rob Jones’ Journey is being sponsored by DoubleTree Hotels, Bennigan's and Bonk Breaker Energy Bars.
“Rob is one of the most inspiring men I have ever had the honor to meet,” said David Walker, President & CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. “He is obviously a unique individual, but the role he plays in motivating and challenging his fellow combat wounded and in raising funds and awareness for organizations like ours is extraordinary.”
To learn more about, and to support, Rob’s cross-country bike trip, please visit www.RobJonesJourney.com