An Afghanistan Veteran with ties to southwest Virginia is making his way through the area on a bicycle.

His journey is long, nearly five thousand miles, but he's already come very far.

Rob Jones' family still lives in this area and he's a 2007 graduate of Virginia Tech.

He joined the Army and his reserve unit was based in Roanoke.

He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 where he lost both legs in an explosion.

That makes this trip both a giant challenge and a giant way to say thank you.

"There's not really a lot that goes through my mind. You'd think there would be but there isn't," Rob Jones said.

If every journey starts with a single step, consider the 5,000 miles Rob Jones will go a giant leap.    

"Well I was learning how to ride a bike in physical therapy after I got hurt. And I just decided I would do a big adventure and I combined the two into a cross country bike ride," he added.

But for Jones, this ride is more than a big declaration that he's okay.

He's turned it into a way to help other veterans who will need the help he got.

He's gone 1,200 miles and, so far, raised $44,000 dollars for charities that help injured vets.

"I want to give back to them for what they've done for me and other people," Jones said.

Jones knew he wanted to do this as soon as he got out of rehab in September.

The cold and the hills are no match for Rob Jones, he needs this,

"I didn't want to wait for another few months, I'm not really sure what I would do."

Trailing slowly and hauling everything they need for the journey, is Jones' little brother Steve.

"It was a while ago, he was just like 'hey, I'm thinking about riding across the country' and I was like "okay." And then about a year went by and he was like 'hey, I'm really gonna ride across the country and I was like alright, I guess I gotta help now," Miller said.

The two of them, flanked by other strangers along the way who have heard about Rob's Journey, will go all the way to San Diego, California.
"I mean it's awesome. Not even just because he's my brother. But just because of anyone doing anything like this, it's a super awesome thing," Miller said.

Rob Jones doesn't view himself as an inspiration, just a man biking the country.

Really, though, how awesome is that?

Here's a link to Rob's website.