Navy Veteran Patrick Jones speaks after an accident left him in a wheelchair: He keeps the faith and believes he will run again in the Crim Festival of Races

Navy veteran Patrick Jones is my Godbrother and his parents were my beloved Godparents. He is two years younger than me and I’ve always referred to him as my little brother.

During our elementary school years, at Walter E. Scott Elementary School we saw each other seven days a week. Patrick’s grandmother was our babysitter before and after school Monday through Friday. She kept the two of us along with my older brother and Patrick’s older brother. I was the only girl in the group with my three brothers.

I saw my three brothers seven days a week. We were together Monday through Friday, and during the weekend we bowled in a bowling league on Saturday morning and attended the same church on Sunday Christ Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. We also took swimming and tennis lessons together and enjoyed other activities which included kickball, roller skating, etc.

I watched Patrick grow up from infancy to adulthood. I knew all of his childhood friends and he knew my friends. We respected each other back then and we have the same relationship today. It is always a pleasure talking and spending time with him.

When I received the phone call on December 22, 2017, that Patrick had an accident and he was in surgery fighting for his life, I immediately dropped to my knees and began praying. I knew God could perform a miracle and thankfully, he spared his life!

While recuperating in the hospital for months after sustaining an incomplete spinal injury at the C2-C3 level, Patrick kept a positive attitude and never gave up. He pushed through daily without complaining, just like a true sailor! He spent two months at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia and four months at the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.

Navy veteran Patrick Jones recuperating at Shepherd Center four weeks after surgery.

Patrick is a family man and is truly blessed to have a supportive and loving family. He is currently recuperating at home with a rigorous daily routine that consists of: physical therapy, preparing home-made meals, reading, praying, meditating, strengthening plus determination.

Yes, he shows lots of determination and strength! I witnessed his strength firsthand years ago when his mother passed away when he was only 19 years old, and I see the same strength today! Sadly, his father passed away last year in December 2018.

When I call and visit Patrick, he remains positive and optimistic no matter how challenging his day might be. During one of our phone conversations several months ago, I could hear in Patrick’s voice he was feeling some discomfort, but he continued the conversation without complaining.

When the conversation ended I thought to myself, I believe Patrick can encourage others. So I later shared my thoughts with him, and he agreed! So I began writing and asked him the following questions.

What advice would you give to someone who is recuperating after a serious injury?

Navy Veteran Patrick Jones speaks after an accident left him in a wheelchair

According to Patrick, “What I have found to be beneficial in regards to recuperating is to commit to putting in extra time and effort. This means working (PT, OT, etc.) extra hours before and/or after regular rehab sessions.”

I also asked him, what advice would you give to someone who wants to give up?

According to Patrick, “The only advice I can give to anyone about not giving up is to try again tomorrow. Some days will suck… embrace the suck and work harder tomorrow!” 

Prior to his injury, Patrick was a strict vegetarian and an avid runner who participated in the Crim Festival of Races since 1999. No matter where he lived, he would return to our hometown Flint, Michigan every August to run in this annual race.

Today, Navy veteran Patrick Jones keeps the faith and believes he will one day run again in the Crim Festival of Races.

Navy veteran Patrick Jones ran in various races in preparation for the Crim Festival of Races.

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