Rob Jones lost both his legs eight years ago after a land mine detonated during his deployment to Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine Corps combat engineer.
On Tuesday night, the Lovettsville, Virginia, native threw out the first pitch at the Frederick Keys game against the Lynchburg Hillcats.
The entire game was dedicated to supporting wounded veterans. A portion of each ticket sold through the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a nonprofit that gives emergency financial aid to veterans and their families, will be donated to the organization. And for each ticket sold, the coalition gave a ticket to a veteran, an active-duty military member or a first responder.
“It’s [an] extremely gratifying experience, because it’s an opportunity to prove to veterans that they are appreciated,” Jones said before Tuesday’s game.
The Marine said it’s become his life’s mission to show other veterans that the country is thankful for their service.
“Sometimes, veterans come home and they have trouble reintegrating back into society,” he said. “Part of [reintegrating] is realizing you are still a contributing member of society and people appreciate what you do.”
Jones has served as an inspiration to many other veterans as a bronze medal-winning Paralympian. In October, he completed a “Month of Marathons,” running 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days in 31 cities from London to D.C.
The Marine, whose father lives in Frederick County, has been to many Keys games before as a fan.
Jones said he’s grateful for the opportunity to honor other veterans at the game.
“I’m thankful for being in a country where people appreciate veterans so much,” he said. “And I’m thankful to live in a country worth making sacrifices for.”
For more information about the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, visit saluteheroes.org.