Purple Heart soldier receives special homecoming

CLEVELAND, Okla. - Travel to any Oklahoma town and there's a story.  As signs welcome you in to city limits, they bare the names of famous athletes and musicians. One of the benefits to our simple life, is that everyone cares. There no exception in Cleveland, Okla.

The doors along main street opened a little early Saturday morning, and are decorated a little more than usual. That's because it's Ashley Jones day in Cleveland.

"I didn't expect it to be this big. I knew everyone would be excited for me to be home," Jones said. "This is a lot more than I thought it would be."

Sunday's welcome home parade is Jones' first big appearance since high school two years ago. Soon after graduation, she was deployed to Afghanistan as a combat medic as part of the Oklahoma National Guard 45th Infantry.

Last December an IED hit her convoy, amputating half of Jones' right leg and breaking numerous other bones. 

"The blast was right underneath my seat," Jones said. "I don't really remember the blast. I had a head injury also."

She's undergone two surgeries and goes to physical therapy twice a day to get back on her feet with the use of a prosthetic.

"I'll be able to do everything I could before," she said. "Almost everything. Running, jumping, playing basketball."

Specialist Jones is the recipient of a Purple Heart. He father says, "I can see her doing some great things later on. This isn't the end of Ashley Jones' story. This is the beginning."

Jones says, "you can definitely overcome a little bump in the road. That's what I call it."

A fund for Jones is set up at American Heritage Bank. The Cleveland vs. Hominy Alumni Football Game on March 31 at 7 p.m., will also benefit her.

Print this article Back to Top