18 March 2012

Homecoming for a wounded combat medic

Ashley Jones walked part of the route, to the delight of the home crowd. Photo: NewsOn6.com.

Crowds Cheer As Cleveland War Hero, Amputee Walks Parade Route

By Brandi Ball, NewsOn6.com

CLEVELAND, Oklahoma -- Cleveland welcomed home a favorite daughter Saturday. U.S. Army Specialist Ashley Jones returned to a hero's welcome, including a parade in her honor.

The young Purple Heart recipient served in the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade in Afghanistan. She was in a convoy on December 18, 2011, when it was hit by an IED.

The parade began at 10 a.m. with Patriot Guard bikers, the Cleveland High School Band and military veterans escorting Jones down Broadway Street from Caddo to Pawnee Streets.

With a block to go in the parade route, the vehicle transporting Jones stopped in the street, and she walked on a prosthetic leg in front of the car and waved to supporters.

Amid loud cheers and a lot of tears, Jones walked the rest of the way, to where folks gathered to shake the hero's hand.

As Cleveland Mayor Ron Shipman presented Jones with a proclamation declaring it "Ashley Jones Day," he got a little choked up.

"When she came walking down Main Street it was a beautiful sight," he said. "It was just beautiful."

Saturday was also Jones' 21st birthday, so after the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the "Star Spangled Banner," it serenaded her with a chorus of "Happy Birthday."

In the IED explosion, Jones broke her back and pelvis, and her right leg was amputated at the knee. She has been recovering in a San Antonio military hospital.

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