PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Pittsburg area residents will have the chance this afternoon to meet a former Marine who, now as a double above-the-knee amputee, is riding a bicycle across the U.S.
Rob Jones, a Virginia native, joined the Marine Corps in 2007 while in his junior year at Virginia Tech. The next year, he deployed to Iraq as a combat engineer with Bravo Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, and in 2010 to Afghanistan.As part of a push into Taliban territory, his task was to clear areas that were thought to contain IEDs. When one exploded, it injured him to the extent that doctors amputated both legs above the knee. While in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he was fitted with prosthetic legs — robotic looking legs made of carbon fiber.
Since then he has competed in the 2012 Paralympics, in which he and Oksana Masters, also a double amputee, won the bronze medal as part of the U.S. Rowing Team.
On Oct. 14, 2013, Jones undertook his next challenge: To bike across the U.S. from Maine to California with a goal of raising $1 million for charities that support injured service members.
To date, he’s raised $77,727 and is within 200 miles of the halfway point of his journey.This morning, he entered Pittsburg escorted by city police cars, fire trucks and motorcycle riders of American Legion Post 64, and this afternoon ended his ride near Girard.
The Pittsburg post has planned a meet-and-greet session for Jones at the American Legion building at 2815 N. Joplin St., starting at 5 p.m. It is open to the public.