Photos by Brian Addison. Full gallery below.
Rob Jones, the double-amputee marine who has inspired people across the nation as he rode a bicycle cross-country to raise money for the organizations that helped him walk and bike again, repeatedly said he was not a deep person after multiple reporters from across the country sought a deep, philosophical answer to the reason behind his quest; he was not kidding.
It is not a shallow part of his character or a surface-level response, but rather, it is just a solidified part of a humble person. There is no need to heavily contextualize his endeavor or even his life—after all, we are talking about a man who not only lost his legs after serving for the US in Afghanistan, but is continually exhausted.
So it was not shocking when, while being honored by multiple Long Beach organizations and politicians at a ceremony held at Hotel Maya, Jones was respectfully reserved, appropriately quiet, and perfectly succinct in his responses during conversation.
When asked how his trip has been, he looks down and humbly replies, “I just can’t wait for it to be over.” When asked about what he is doing after this huge adventure, he simply says, “I don’t know, and I don’t care that I don’t know.”
While it's easy to tell he appreciates the attention he is receiving, it's equally apparent that he keeps most of his thoughts private and his demeanor reserved while receiving accolades for his work. Unquestionably, he is quick to extend his thanks for the people who raise money for the organizations he is supporting—the Semper Fi Fund, the Coalition to Salute America’s Hopes, and Ride2Recovery—but he is just as quick to return back to at-ease. In other words: he is truly the example of a man who does things because he feels they are the right things to do rather than things which can garner him attention.
Jones was honored by the City of Long Beach via Vice Mayor Robert Garcia; Senator Ricardo Lara’s Office; Hotel Maya; and a Quilt of Valor from a Marine mom.
“I’m tired and all I can focus on is Camp Pendleton,” Jones said, glancing around at the many suits and people swarming about. “And my butt hurts. Really hurts.”
- Semper Fi Fund: 825 College Blvd, Suite 102, PMB 609, Oceanside, CA 92057
- Ride 2 Recovery, attn: Donations, 23679 Calabasas Rd. #420, Calabasas, CA 91302
- Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, PO Box 96440, Washington, DC 20090-6440