The Miami Dolphins had an admirable season and Tua Tagovailoa helped lead the way. He hit Jaylen Waddle with an unbelievable 60 yard TD pass against the Jets, had some memorable touchdown celes with Tyreek and the boys, and overall had another great year. But it's what Tua is doing off the field this week that's garnering the most attention. No stranger to military service (his brother played for the Naval Academy and went on to become a Naval Officer), Tua partnered with USAA to give away two Super Bowl tickets to a deserving veteran. Enter John Jones, or as Tua calls him, "A true inspiration."
John “Jonesy” Jones served in the United States Marine Corps from 1995 until 2007, where he was assigned to multiple units and various roles, including Machine Gunner, Cadre Instructor Trainer, Non‐Lethal Weapons Instructor Trainer and Close Quarters Battle Instructor Trainer, eventually achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant upon medical retirement. During his 12 years of service, SSgt Jones had overseas deployments to Japan, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Spain, Germany and Thailand.
During one of his deployments, SSgt Jones was severely injured when his vehicle ran over an anti‐tank mine in 2005. As a result of his injuries, SSgt Jones lost both legs below the knees and gradually began the process of walking again with prosthesis. His decorated military career includes being awarded a Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star, Combat Action Ribbon, and three Good Conduct Medals. SSgt John P. Jones’ non‐personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, two National Defense Medals, Overseas Service Ribbon, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Joint Meritorious Unit Citation Ribbon, and Meritorious Unit Citation Ribbon.
After his military career, he went on to be the first graduate of the Wall Street Warfighters who trained and placed injured service members into meaningful jobs on Wall Street. He became the Executive Director for Wall Street Warfighters Foundation in 2009, and has since held numerous roles assisting fellow veterans. John is currently the Vice President of Development for Project Healing Waters – a group that uses the therapeutic art of fly fishing to address PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma, and contributions to the reduction of suicide. SSgt Jones currently resides in Windsor, Colorado, with his four children. He is a lifelong NFL fan, and his favorite team is the San Fransisco 49ers. He plans to bring his brother, Michael, with him to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas where they will both meet Tua Tagovailoa before going to the game, where he will proudly cheer on his favorite team.
We caught up with Tua at the USAA Salute to Service Lounge at this year's Super Bowl Experience to see what this opportunity meant to him: