Champion Gymnast works as a Colorado State Trooper

JonesWhen Charlie Jones was 18 months old, he came up missing in the house. His parents looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him. Finally, they heard Charlie laughing and followed his voice to the kitchen, where they found him on top of the refrigerator with his hand in the cookie jar. The next day, they put Charlie into a gymnastics program. He was a natural climber, taking after his mother, who also was a gymnast. “That was a big part of my childhood,” Jones said. “My parents were right there behind me the whole way.” Jones went on to become one of the top-ranked young gymnasts in the U.S. He earned 30 national-level medals, including 11 golds. He’s a four-time All-American, and he nearly went to the 2004 Summer Olympics on the U.S. National Gymnastics Team. Jones, an Aurora native, now works as a Colorado state trooper and lives near Mancos with his wife, Chelsea, and kids Ariella, 3, and Titus, 1. A new high and lowAt age 17, Jones was ranked as one of the top 15 U.S. gymnasts. He was invited to live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. His roommate was Olympic gymnast Steve McCain. Speed-skater Apolo Anton Ohno lived in the room above him. “It was a fun time in life,” he said. “I had opportunities that no one else gets.” Jones trained three times a day, six days a week, going home on Sundays. He was surrounded by some of the best athletes in the country. But he said he soon learned that even world-class athletes deal with ordinary struggles and insecurities. “I realized that you can’t find your identity in being an 11-time national champion,” he said. “My identity can’t be in that, because one day it will all go away.” It went away sooner than he’d expected. Three months before an important Winter Cup competition in 2003, Jones dismounted during practice, and his right shoulder separated. Doctors told him he needed surgery, but could still compete at the Winter Cup without further damaging his shoulder. Jones’ vault was crucial to the team score, so he went through with the competition. Several days later, he had shoulder surgery. “When I came out, the doctors said ‘We’re sorry, you’re done,’” Jones said. After his initial injury, an MRI had missed a razor-thin bone chip the size of a pea, Jones said. The chip had been carving away at the cartilage in his shoulder, and by the time it was discovered, he had almost no cartilage left. He had been training for the 2004 Olympics, and hoped to be at the top of his class for the 2008 Olympics. The hope was gone. “It was a shock,” Jones said. “I was supposed to be getting into my prime, but that went away.” The loss of an identityAs Jones’ life changed instantly, he thought of his friend Ricky Deci, a 13-year-old gymnast at the Olympic Training Center. He recalled Ricky’s infectious smile and happiness. “He was always having fun,” Jones said. “He couldn’t be brought down in his attitude.” When older kids picked on him, he’d laugh it off. No matter what came his way, Ricky was happy, confident and full of joy, Jones said. One day, at the end of a workout, the team was competing on the pommel horse. Ricky was up last, and to win, he had to nail the dismount. But when Ricky came off the pommels, he landed awkwardly and fell over. A trainer went to Ricky and discovered that he wasn’t breathing. Jones ran across the gym to find more people to help, and when he got back, the trainer was performing CPR. The 13-year-old soon was being hauled off in an ambulance. Two hours later, trainers announced that Ricky had died of a heart arrhythmia. Doctors said there was no way to predict or prevent the attack – Ricky was otherwise in perfect health. As Jones struggled with his injury and loss of career, he remembered how Ricky never let things get him down. “Nothing you threw his way could shake him,” Jones said of his friend. “He lived that way until the end.” Jones turned to his faith. “Those are the moments that make you think what life’s about,” Jones said. “It’s not about being the Olympic gold medalist. It’s not about being a super trooper or being the best at your job. It’s about the relationships you have with your family, your friends and God. ... It was easy for me to transition into the next phase of life.” A bridge to a new placeAfter retiring from gymnastics, Jones’ journey took him to South America, where he did missionary and humanitarian work for the next few years with Open Doors and 2nd Glance Ministries, a group started by his father Clay Jones. In Colombia, Jones helped liberate orphans from the oppressive FARC guerilla group. In 2011, he worked with Peruvian government officials and civic leaders to fight sex trafficking. After returning to the U.S., he coached gymnastics for about six years. During that time, he began ministering to former military personnel and law enforcement officers. One of those men was a former Navy SEAL. He taught Jones how to use a weapon, and Jones became a proficient shooter. Jones soon found himself expecting a daughter and wanting a stable profession. He applied to the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy in January 2013. Six months later, patrol assignments were available in Lamar, Colorado and Montezuma County. Jones and his wife had always wanted to see Mesa Verde, so they chose Southwest Colorado. ‘You’re coming out of it’Since summer 2013, Jones and his family have lived on a hill outside Mancos with a spectacular view of the La Plata Mountains. As a patrolman, he deals with people who are having the worst day of their lives, Jones said. He meets them in those moments and tells them it will be OK – people are there to help. “I like being a cop because I meet people on that worst day, and I help them through that process,” he said. It’s sometimes stressful, but because he’s grounded in his faith, Jones said he gets through it. He learned how to do that at the Olympic Training Center and with Ricky Deci. “Whether my job goes away tomorrow or I have a career-ending injury – I don’t want to invite those things, and I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt – you’re grounded and you can get through those trials,” Jones said. “You don’t always get out unscathed, but you know you’re coming out of it. That’s what being a gymnast taught me.”

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The Dangers of Distracted Driving: Amanda Clark's Story

 
 
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Virginia State Trooper Rescued Two Dogs

Virginia PupA Virginia State Police trooper made a rescue over the weekend when she found two dogs in Appomattox County. It was shared on the Virginia State Police Facebook page. The post reads: “VSP has gone to the dogs…as we have another K9 rescue to share! Over the weekend, Trooper R.S. Mann was on patrol when she saw two dogs alongside Route 460 in Appomattox County. She immediately stopped and found one canine was injured and the other – the one she’s holding – was not injured. The two dogs were together because the uninjured pup refused to leave the injured dog’s side. Trooper Mann found medical help for the injured K9 and a shelter for the uninjured dog.” The post has been seen by thousands of people since it was posted Sunday night.

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Arkansas State Troopers Make a 10 year old Boy's Birthday Memorable

story A group of Arkansas State Troopers helped make a 10-year-old’s birthday party a celebration that he’ll never forget. When Toxey invited all 21 of his classmates to his birthday party on April 2, not a single person bothered to show up. “Just heartbroken and helpless. It’s the last thing you want to feel for your kid is that no one cared enough to come,” Toxey’s mother Angela Andrews told local reporters. Two days later, five state troopers and Rhino the police K-9 showed up to the Andrews residence to kick off the public relations photoshoot of a lifetime.  “Not only did they bring him a birthday cookie cake, but they also brought him all kinds of presents, let him play with Rhino, the K-9, and play with the sirens in their cars,” Angela Andrews wrote on Facebook. “They ate his cake with him and played basketball with him, All out of the goodness of their hearts. They made my sweet baby's day, and his year,” she continued. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never be able to repay the kindness you showed my family today!" Toxey told THV11 that he "cried a little bit," and that he now wants to become a state trooper when he grows up. So let's hope, for the sake of all the minorities in the area, that Toxey's classmates start treating him better so he'll end up becoming one of the good guys.

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Man who Held California Highway Patrol Officer's Hand after Hit and Run Speaks out

529333 375743235826658 2061537100 nIt shouldn't take an officer down for communities to realize cops are only human. But when a hit-and-run driver reportedly reversed on Interstate 80 Thursday, running over a motorcycle officer other drivers risked their own lives to stay by his side. "All I could think of was that, to hold his hand and talk to him ... so somehow he would know people cared," Mike Vavak told FOX40. And that is all the injured officer's family could hope for. Vavak said he was knelt down in the fast lane, next to a woman who prayed over that officer's body. He says he was taking slow, labored breaths, but couldn't squeeze his hand. "The amount of emotion that was going for this officer that was down was really touching. Everyone was really shaken up by it,” Vavak said. But those he says he saw taking it the hardest, were the other men and women in uniform who arrived later. Those like CHP officer Jenna Berry who told FOX40 the officer likely stopped to help the driver of that truck who was stopped near the center divider. “We stop to check it the vehicle is out of gas or if something is not wrong, as when he pulled up that vehicle intentionally ran him over,” Berry said. Witnesses told CHP the driver backed into the officer on purpose, then yelled at him before fleeing. That driver left the scene on I-80 near Elkhorn Boulevard, stole a commercial pickup truck near Northgate Boulevard, and led police on a chase to Fairfield where he was eventually arrested. "We investigate the best we can, and pray for a full recovery,” Berry said. CHP has confirmed that the officer is in stable condition. The suspect's identity, however, has not been released. What we do know, that the compassion in Sacramento today overshadowed the cowardice of this act. "How heartless can you be to just do that to someone?” Vavak asked.

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