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Update on a rough rider

October 18, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

After a rough day for just about everyone on June 30 last, I was invited to the Emmet County Fairgrounds to meet Tony Jones and his horse, Ellen.

Jones is a bareback rider who was making his way from Ft. Pierre, South Dakota to Washington, D.C. to raise awarness of veteran needs and to raise money for the Semper Fi foundation.

In all the busyness of working for this paper and life in general, I had not checked in with Tony to find out what happened when he arrived in D.C., if he even made it there (though I had no doubt he would).

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After his nearly-five-month journey, Tony met with staffers from the South Dakota lawmakers' offices to tell them what he learned and to spread his message that Americans have to help each other out.

"I don't expect representatives or the government to do this. I expect the people of America to get the job done," Jones said.

Susan Wortman with the Semper Fi fund said, "Not only was Tony able to raise funds for the Semper Fi Fund, he was able to raise awareness for the wounded, ill, and injured, which is almost as important as the money."

Jones said of his 1,600 mile journey, "Along the way it turned out I rediscovered America. I found out that the beauty of this great Land is not just in the landscape but in its people. That the American people aren't white black Hispanic Christian Jew or Muslim they are not straight or gay or Democrat or Republican. They are the greatest human beings who ever walked the face of the earth. And they call themselves Americans. They are going to unite. They have only to love each other realize we are all family that there is no problem we can't solve no hardship we can not overcome."

Jones actually rode three different horses on his trek. Ellen was donated to a therapy program for veterans. The others were put on auction, with proceeds going to the Semper Fi Fund.

I've been fortunate enough to get to know a number of veterans as I cover events in this community. What I find in them is a spirit similar to that of Tony Jones. That the America, the communities tfor which they served and fought, have people they love so dearly, that there is not one Estherville or Armstrong or Ringsted or Gruver or Lincoln Township or Jack Creek Township they honored and defended, and then some other people over there, for whom they care not. They served the whole community, the whole nation, in hopes that peace and freedom would prevail.

Some of those in service were lost in it. I hope our community will come together to make the planned Gold Star Families Memorial a reality in 2018.



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