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 Chief Operating Officer for the national nonprofit 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, and 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,” The Real,” and regularly appears on Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family.” On the big screen, he appeared in the Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln,” and is billed as a technical advisor for the independent film, “Bad Hurt.”
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 Ordinance 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 he 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. His time at Georgetown fostered relationships and efforts that are still changing the lives of veteran students on campus today.
Jones was introduced to the Boot Campaign in 2011, through Joe Nichols, country music artist and Boot Campaign celebrity ambassador. He 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 director, quickly moving into a leading role as the Executive Director of Marketing.
After losing his childhood best friend to PTSD-related suicide in 2012, Jones decided to make veterans’ issues his life’s work. Throughout his post-service career, he has carefully fostered relationships with key players in politics and the media in an effort to keep those 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 in 2012, and later with former President George W. Bush in 2014. He has also visited with Vice President Biden, as well as multiple cabinet officials and military generals and still enjoys a close personal and working relationship with current Marine Corps leaders, even after retiring from active duty in 2012. That same year, 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.
Jones’ 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. Currently he works as the Chief Operating Officer and official spokesperson for the Boot Campaign and the annual Pushups for Charity campaign. A nationally recognized advocate, Jones has joined forces with organizations such as Marcus Luttrell’s Team Never Quit, Taya Kyle’s Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground, Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation, The Armed Forces Foundation, Building Homes for Heroes, EOD Warrior Foundation, Sentinels of Freedom scholarships and Carrick Brain Center. In addition to his long list of engagements, Jones is penning a memoir detailing his experiences in life and war, focused on overcoming adversity through a positive, proactive outlook.