You may remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about Johnny Joey Jones in my Sunday Spotlight. J3 is an amazing human being whose life changed in an instant years ago in the desert of Afghanistan. Instead of spiraling down the rabbit hole of depression, anger, and self-pity, Joey Jones straps on his legs each morning and works hard to bring meaning to his life and enrich ours. I hope you can tell by my original post and the intro to this how much I admire this inspirational human being. Yesterday, August 6, was a big day in Jones’ life, and today, I will share an update on his story.
In case you missed my first spotlight on Joey, Here is a quick refresher:
Joey is a former Marine, although they say you are never a “former” Marine who was a bomb tech in Afghanistan. He had already spent eight years in Afghanistan when in 2010, his life changed forever when he took a step and landed on an IED. That ordinance took his legs but never touched his spirit. He endured the surgeries to save his life, rehabbed his body, got onto his mechanical prosthetic legs, and got on with his new life.
For most of Joey’s adult life, he had served his country as a proud Marine. With his new legs, he had to find a new purpose, and he has found many and is using his mind and voice as his new weapons of war.
He is no longer fighting terrorism in the sands of Afghanistan but is fighting for veterans and all Americans in Washington, on FOX News and FOX Nation, and through his consulting and speaking. JJJ may not be college educated but was schooled by life, and he is a master at sharing his knowledge and experience.
I am in awe whenever I see Joey on my favorite FOX News shows. I know he will bring an honest and straightforward twist to any conversation, regardless of the topic. He co-hosted Fox and Friends Weekend yesterday and the feature story on why the day was so important to Joey brought me to tears.
August 6 is the day J3 calls “Alive Day.” That is the anniversary of the day that he took on an IED in Afghanistan, and like far too many bomb techs, he lost. Joey walked us through the events of that day including actual videos from his helmet cam and many others of his brothers who were quick to come to his aid after the blast. For twelve years, he has celebrated Alive Day, not as the day he lost his legs, but the day he was lucky enough to still be alive after the sounds of the exploding bomb dissipated into the desert air. That may be the ultimate example of a glass-half-full mentality that is the make-up of this individual.
The video was terribly graphic, but the story was even harder to listen to. His commanding officer told about the minute he got to Joey after the blast, and the first thing Joey said was, “I am sorry I let you down.” That simple quote speaks volumes for Jones. He was lying on the hot desert ground as the smoke was still clearing. He was aware that he no longer had legs to stand on, but his thoughts were about others and how he had disappointed them. He says that August 6, 2010 isn’t the day I lost my legs. It’s the day I lived. It’s my “Alive Day.”
His good friend and fellow bomb tech, Cpl Greer, was not as lucky that day. Greer paid the ultimate cost of war with his life. Jones has lived his life these last 12 years partly to honor his fallen brother. He has done that very well.
I enjoy that Joey’s career at FOX continues to grow, and his appearances are more frequent. Wearing his usual shorts to expose his prosthetics and listening to his humorous quips about his lack of real legs makes his journey more amazing. He is an inspiration to those who suffered his fate serving in the deserts of the Middle East, but more importantly, to everyone. Regardless of the hardships you may endure, celebrate your life and not the event. The event does not define your future, but how you handle it does. We should all be as strong and stand so tall as Johnny Joey Jones. May God continue to bless him.