Even After a Near-Death Experience, Johnny Joey Jones Remains Fit to Serve
“I was in the process of bringing people over to help with that, and I stepped on an IED that I didn’t know was there.”
“The physical healing of shutting the holes, reattaching muscles, and everything else was about three months. Then, I went to Walter Reed (Hospital) to learn how to use the prosthetics.”
By February 2011, he was walking on prosthetics, and by July of that year, he was working on Capitol Hill. At one point during his recovery, he was the subject of a segment on ABC Nightline, and he shared a statement that showed how mentally strong he truly was.
“I told them I didn’t lose both of my legs. I was given a second chance at life.”
Jones may not have known what his fate would be when he joined the Marines, but he knew that he was destined for something beyond his hometown. Jones grew up in the northwestern United States, and his family was no stranger to service. His great grandfather was a Marine, and he had six uncles that were drafted into the military. He said that they didn’t discuss much about what they did during that time, but they knew that they at least were in the military. Jones didn’t have any grand plans to join the Marines or any other branch of the military, but two of his friends had fathers that were in service. One was on active duty in the Air Force in Arkansas, and the other was their football coach as well as a reserve Marine.
“I had those guys influencing me, and by the time I graduated high school, Chris went to college, Keith went to work, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do,” he recalled. “Keith actually recruited me to join the Marine Corps with him.”
It wasn’t just their influence that helped him make that decision. Neither of his parents graduated high school, yet they did all they could to ensure that he did. Jones felt like that was a gift, and he could be doing more with it.
“There was more for me to achieve than working an hourly job. The Marine Corps became my way of doing more.”
In April 2005, Jones was off to boot camp, but by 2007, he was already on his first tour in Iraq in a security role. Once he returned from that mission, he applied to become an EOD tech, and he got the position. After completing school for that position, he was sent to Afghanistan in March 2010, which is where he experienced his Alive Day.
Even with all he had been through to that point, Jones never settled and remained selfless. He is driven to go above and beyond for himself and others. He found out that over 50 techs had been sent to Walter Reed, and he knew 13 of them on a first-name basis. Living with the belief that the harder you work for others, the harder you work for yourself, he wanted to do whatever he can to offer his support to them so they could move forward like he did. He also took part in a mentor program, which he felt helped them stay connected to what he called “the other end of the tunnel.”
“For me, I wanted to go visit those guys and tell them what’s ahead, especially since after you physically recover, you change locations. Within those first couple of months of using prosthetics, I realized there was something to be done, and I could be proactive to showing those guys and gals what they had in store.”
Another component that has helped Jones both mentally and physically was training and fitness. He associated working out with hard work in a good way. He recalled that his father worked as a brick mason, and they were poor, so they did a lot of work to get by. He doesn’t train to achieve a certain look, it’s to be prepared for challenges that may lie ahead.
Jones said, “There’s only one way to get things done, and that’s to do it. It was a part of my culture I grew up in. You didn’t have to look good, but you better be strong.”
He didn’t get acquainted with the weightroom until he played football in high school, but he felt a strong connection immediately, and that connection stays with him to this day.
Jones’ story and work to make a difference has been inspiring to many Americans. Since 2019, Jones had been a contributor to Fox News, and he has been a host of shows on the network as well as Fox Nation. Having a platform of that magnitude to make a difference wasn’t something that Jones was counting on, but as long as he has it, he wanted to make a difference.
“I’m very passionate about advocating for other people in the same position as me,” he explained. “I became a fellow for the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and I got the ears of the right people. From there, I had the opportunity to be around different things that were happening, and I met a producer for Fox that is no longer here named Jen Williams. She had been producing a show and invited me to come on.”
“We all need help and inspiration. I realized the story to tell wasn’t about what happened to me, but about those of the people that got me through it. The guardian angels that I didn’t know were angels at the time, the people that without them, I wouldn’t have a story to tell. They all had a profound impact on my life, and they all served.”
Johnny Joey Jones wants the people to read this book to think beyond what is in the pages. The people featured had a profound impact on him, which is why he wanted to help tell their stories to the world, but he hopes the reader will finish it and ask themselves who those ten people would be in their lives.
“Maybe you don’t know them as well as others, but the way you do know them is and should be very important to you.”