Wesley Jones Outdoor Show Inspires
A life-changing accident as a boy didn’t mean this Conyers outdoorsman would quit living life to fullest.
Wesley Jones, of Conyers, was just 9 years old in 1987 when he fell 20 feet from a homemade zip line made of rope. In an instant, he went from being a carefree kid to breaking his neck and will live the remainder of his life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. The moment was life-changing, but not life-ending. Now at 33 years of age, and still living in Conyers, Wesley is more excited than ever about the things God is doing through his life.
“There are many situations in life, both good and bad, that shape us into the people we become,” said Wesley. “Some of these situations are great, such as getting married or having children, and easily become positive contributors to our life. Others can be tragic and life changing. It is how we choose to cope with these circumstances that can most impact and shape us as individuals.”
When Wesley was in college, he had the vision of hosting an outdoor television show. His dream became a reality, and in 2002, the first episode of Unlimited Outdoors aired. He is the executive producer and only handicapped host on a nationally aired outdoor television show.
“We had the honor of being the No. 1 rated show on Great American Country to a weekly audience of 75 million homes,” said Wesley. “The road has not always been easy, but God has always taken care of us.”
Wesley credits his brother Reggie for never leaving his side since the day of the accident. Today, they are partners as they try to give back from lives they feel so generously blessed to have. This led them to begin a new business venture last year, the Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation.
“Even though my accident happened more than 20 years ago, we still reflect on the people who were there and helped,” said Wesley. “We have a strong desire to give back and help others who have been through tragedies similar to ours. This was the driving factor behind the formation of Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation.”
Recipients of help from the foundation will receive care packages shortly after an accident or illness and then receive training in dealing with the life change. The foundation will help prepare homes for the changes by building wheelchair ramps. The foundation is also acquiring vacation properties so families will have a place to escape as they adjust to their new changes.
And meanwhile, Wesley, who is the first quadriplegic to complete a Grand Slam for turkeys, looks forward to another hunting season. Not only does he get to host a show that he enjoys so much, he’s spending time with his family.
“My brother Reggie has a huge role with the show as chief marketing officer,” said Wesley. “His wife Dawn killed her first deer on the show, and my niece Ashley killed her first deer four years ago, turkey two years ago and a gator last year on the show.”
Wesley values his family. His mom, Sherry, retired from Rockdale County Board of Education, and his dad, Jerry, preacher at Stewart Baptist Church, in Covington, are very supportive of their sons’ career path. Still, it’s not without challenges.
“(Last year) I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia,” said Wesley. “My lung collapsed, and I had to have a tracheotomy. I spent a month there, three weeks of which I was on a respirator. I didn’t know that I would make it. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to speak for at least a year. I was forced to put the show on hold. God once again blessed me, and I was back talking in three months and back in the woods soon after.”
The Jones brothers begin filming this month as they chase Georgia gators. The new season of Unlimited Outdoors will be back on the air during the 2012 summer.
For more information on Wesley Jones, go to www.givetotriumph.org.
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