Riders, I would like to share
this experience with you. As was advised to the
Kansas ALR Chapters, earmark a fund for situations just like
this one. I have never been more proud to be part of the
Legion Family as I was that day. Laura had many stories to
tell of the families plight and I wish it could all be written.
I hope you understand how important this "Mission" is, she Thanked YOU over and over.
"God Bless the Jones
Family" and "Thanks For What You Do"
Cregg (Bronco 6)
While not an official
‘Hero’s to Hometown’ case generated from the American
Legion, what follows is a heart-tugging story of how
American Legion Post 136 was prepared and able to assist
a wounded veterans family in a moments notice. It is a
tribute to all veterans and veteran supporters of our
Monday afternoon, 26 March, a call was received at our
Post home, informing us of a critical need from Laura
Jones of Derby, Ks. Laura is the wife of Sgt. John D.
Jones who was critically wounded in Iraq.
Sgt. Jones was assigned to the 161st Field
Artillery. If this sounds familiar, it is because the
Patriot Guard escorted his best friend, Ssgt. David
Berry, on his path to God on 3 March. His driver in the
Humvee that day, was Sgt. Jones. They were assigned to
the Rapid Response Team of C Company. On this
particular day, they volunteered to assist B
Company. The camp they were assigned to, had sky based
tracking balloons, which can track the trajectory of
mortar fire and send coordinates to the Rapid Response
Team. The camp came under mortar fire and Ssgt. Berry,
with Sgt. Jones, Sgt. Ricker and Sgt. Peter Hays
responded. When they arrived at the firing location,
three pre-planted IED’s, were detonated. The first one
missed. The second one, killed Ssgt. Berry, took the
right leg from Sgt. Ricker, removed the jaw from Sgt.
Hays, and the right side of Sgt. Jones’s skull was torn
away, and he had shrapnel and burn wounds to his arm and
back. The insurgents purposely set them up.
Sgt. Jones was not expected to live, but was stabilized
enough to be evacuated to Germany and on to Bethesda
Naval Hospital. Laura arrived and was told he may not
last the night. He did, and his prognosis is
improving. He was recently transferred to the Poly
Trauma Rehab Center in Tampa where he will remain for
the next 6-9 months. He still has to return to Bethesda
to have a plate installed, and return again to Tampa for
more rehab. He has lost 80% or his hearing and part of
his brain has been removed.
On 28 March, Cregg Hansen, my wife, and I had the honor of
meeting with Laura Jones, and two of her children. She
is going to leave her children in the care of her family
in Arkansas, and move to Tampa to be with her husband.
She was in desperate need of help. Members of the 161st
have volunteered to assist in storing her household
goods and help her move. Post 136, with less than two
days to react, was able to hand her $500 ( 250.00 from
Post 136 / $250.00 from ALR 136 )cash and two phone
cards totaling 1200 minutes to help her keep in touch
with her children. This money was available because two
meetings ago, a ‘Veterans Hardship’ fund was started.
It was funded by donations and money from the general
fund. At the same time, the Post Legion Riders started
their own fund. When we needed the money fast, a phone
call to Jim Jones, ALR Director, was all it took to have
half the money and the phone cards available. The rest
of the money came out of the Post hardship account.
Laura is now on her way to Tampa. Despite all the
pressure she was under, all the grief she suffered due
to her injured husband, when she heard our son was
serving in Baghdad, she cried. She was still thinking
We are taking steps to keep this fund financed and will accept
donations. Nothing we do can be more important.