WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Greeted by applause and hugs, Tony Jones of Fort Pierre, South Dakota wrapped up his nearly five-month journey on horseback by holding a ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington on Tuesday.
“I’m glad to be here. I needed rest. I’m tired," said Jones.
Jones and his three horses left South Dakota on June 5 on a mission to find out what issues our veterans are facing.
Jones 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 explained.
Jones had a lot of help along the way. People in small towns gave him food and shelter. His sister, Wendy Bushmire, helped him map out his route.
“He followed through with what he said. He never wavered. Not once. He never broke down," said Bushmire.
Jones also used his ride as a fundraiser for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial assistance to wounded vets.
“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," said Susan Wortman with Semper Fi Fund.
Jones doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but he can’t wait to get home and see his grandson.
“Everything has its reward, and so, whatever it is, it is. And I’ve had mine. I’ve met the greatest people in the world. They call themselves Americans, and they’re cool," he said.
As for Jones’ horses, he’ll donate one of them to a therapy program for veterans. The others will be auctioned off, and the money will go to Semper Fi Fund.
If you'd like to donate to Jones’ Semper Fi Fund fundraising campaign, click the link at the top of this page.