Advice for military personnel returning to their families
More from Expert
Staff Sergeant (Ret.), Chief Operating Officer, Military Spokesperson for Boot Campaign
Combat-wounded Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Johnny "Joey" Jones turned a traumatic, life-changing disability into a personal mission to improve the lives of all veterans. Now serving as the spokesperson and Executive Director of Marketing for the national nonprofit the Boot Campaign, Jones is key to educating the civilian public and corporate America on issues concerning veterans and their families in a nonpartisan, inspiring way. Part of that role includes advocating for veterans in the media, regularly appearing as an outspoken, yet insightful military analyst for Fox News’ "The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson." Jones has also been featured on CNN, ABC's "Nightline," "CBS Evening News," "Huckabee," “Hannity," "On the Record with Greta Van Sustren," Fox & Friends" and Hallmark Channel's "Home& Family." On the big screen, he appeared in the Academy Award-winning film "Lincoln."
Known to his friends as “Triple J,” Jones was raised in Dalton, Georgia and enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school. During his eight years of service, he worked as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (bomb) Technician, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan on three combat tours. During his last deployment to Afghanistan, Jones was responsible for disarming and destroying more than 80 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and thousands of pounds of other unknown bulk explosives. It was during that tour on August 6, 2010 when Jones stepped on and initiated an IED, resulting in the loss of both of his legs above the knee and severe damage to his right forearm and both wrists. He then spent two grueling years in recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C.
Determined to make the road to recovery easier for his fellow wounded veterans, Jones started a peer visit program at Walter Reed, which provided opportunities for others recovering from life-changing injuries to mentor and encourage newly-injured patients. This led to an unprecedented year-long fellowship on Capitol Hill with the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, his contributions resulting in the creation of an annual fellowship and paving the way for other inspiring Marine wounded warriors.
After his discharge from Walter Reed, Jones enrolled in Georgetown University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. During his time at the university, he was a leader within his student body and co-founded the first veteran student organization at the school. In 2011, while still attending classes at Georgetown, Jones was introduced to the Boot Campaign through Joe Nichols, country music artist and Boot Campaign celebrity ambassador. Jones quickly realized that his personal goals and objectives were aligned with the charity's mission to raise awareness of veterans’ issues, promote patriotism and provide assistance to military families. He joined the nonprofit first as a speaker and public affairs representative, quickly moving into a leading role as the Executive Director of Marketing and is now Chief Operating Officer.
Throughout his post-service career, Jones has carefully fostered relationships with key players in politics and the media in an effort to keep veterans’ issues at the forefront of discussion. He’s shared his experiences and insights on the challenges facing active duty and retired service members as a dinner guest of President Obama as well as former President George W. Bush, Vice President Biden, multiple cabinet officials and military generals. Though he retired in 2012, Jones still enjoys a close personal and working relationship with current Marine Corps leaders.
In 2012 he represented all wounded warriors as the guest of honor at the annual Commandant of the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, an honor reserved for cabinet officials and Marines of utmost distinguished service. His easy rapport with civilians, military leaders and celebrities alike has led to a long list of speaking engagements, including the Heroes of Military Medicine Awards, Smithsonian Institute, Purdue University, Georgetown University, Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Hewlett Packard, Benchmark Mortgage and various other public and private gatherings. He is married, has a son named Braiden and a dog named Tucker.