Tyler Eschberger | Daily News

Tim Jones with the book about his struggle with the rare blood disorder TTP.

Jones achieves dream, falls gravely ill

This is part one of two about one local man’s fight against the odds.

Local Folks is a feature meant to highlight individuals and their unique stories. Extraordinary people and stories can come from anywhere, and Middlesboro is home to such people. One of these people in Tim Jones, whose story is filled with triumph and tragedy.

Jones’ story in Middlesboro starts in his middle school days — when his family moved to town. Jones expressed that middle school was a struggle for him. He was always a small kid for his age, but enjoyed sports in elementary school and expected to continue that enjoyment on through middle school. He did not expect the difficulty this leg of his education would provide.

Jones stated that he struggles socially as well as academically and was unfortunately held back to repeat the sixth grade. After this Jones got involved in sports again and found his stride, making friends and improving academically. The summer before high school Jones found his love of tennis — bringing him to competitions and earning trophies. Jones injured himself, though, putting a damper on his tennis prospects.

He entered college with the intent to major in criminal justice. Jones grew up with an admiration of law enforcement as well as an interest in the political workings of the country.

“I knew I wanted to be a police officer in some form or fashion…and I thought, ‘how in the world can I mix that with my interest in politics’.”

Jones recounts seeing a news story on TV about two United States Capitol Police Officers who were killed on duty. This spurred Jones to contact the Capitol Police after graduating college.

“I’ll be right in the political process. I’ll see it, I’ll protect it and I’m in uniform…I get to do it all.”

Jones’ initial test score was in the top three percentile and he received the call stating that the Capitol Police would like to hire him. After the background check was cleared, Jones was in the academy.

He describes the training process as “very strenuous.”

“I remember when I first got in the academy…as soon as we got there they took us and told us we were doing a 15 mile run. I ran when I was younger but I had never done a 15 mile run before. Half way through this thing I’m puking my guts up…the world is spinning…this guy comes by and for some odd reason I remember to this day what he said. He said ‘only the strong survive’,” said Jones.

Jones enjoyed a decade-long career as a Capitol Police officer, where he was encouraged to perform many different roles during his tenure. He was a sharpshooter, he worked in dignitary protection as well as a field training instructor. He also worked in the psychological department, due to his psychology degree he earned in college.

During the tail end of his career as a Capitol Police officer, Jones was starting to notice signs that something was wrong with his health. He was experiencing concentration issues and felt he was generally becoming ineffective in his job. At the time, Jones was going through a divorce and equated his well-being with the stress of that event.

His superiors granted Jones some time off for him to go home and take care of himself. He wasn’t aware at that time how truly devastating his health issues would become. After a few days at home, Jones was feeling under the weather and chocked up his symptoms to a bout of the stomach bug. He did not know that the next day the struggle for his life would begin in earnest. Jones was about to find out his has a rare blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP).

Information for this article was found in God’s Mighty Warrior by Dusty Caudill.

We are pleased to bring back “Local Folks” as an ongoing feature. If you would like to nominate someone to be highlighted, please email tyler.eschberger@middlesborodailynews.com or marisa.anders@claiborneprogress.net.