BY Jenae Graves | Guest Blogger AC JosepH Media
MILLVILLE – Fitness and Health are topics people cannot stop talking about.
From Fit Tea to CrossFit, bodybuilding and booty blasting people will do anything to get their perfect body. Millville Police Officer Anthony Jones is making it his mission to get across fitness can do more for the body than just “beach ready.”
A Millville native, Jones has seen the city change in good and bad ways. He grew up in the projects of Hollyberry Court and later moved to another project called Wade East, now Oakview. Knowing the rough surroundings and the violence in the neighborhood, his mother was strict but gave him and his older brother a good childhood.
Growing up Jones suffered from sickle cell trait and was back and forth to doctors. You would think being sick would be the reason to get into a healthy lifestyle, but Jones gets his inspiration from something different.
“What got me into fitness really was, it’s kind of weird, but grieving got me into fitness,” Jones said.
From ages 14 and 18, Jones experienced the devastating loss of 6 individuals he held dear to him. After graduating high school, by the skin of his teeth, he still felt depressed.
“I went through a dark period where I just wanted to give up on everything. I wouldn’t open up in grief classes and after taking one dosage of Valium I never took it again,” Jones said. “After graduation a buddy of mine invited me to the gym and I went.”
That one day was all it took. Jones, now 28, says his initial failure in the gym was the thing that helped him process his grief the most.
“That session boosted me up. It really made me feel I could achieve something. It gave me something to work towards while getting my mind off things,” Jones said. “It showed me that no matter what you are going through in life, there is some kind of outlet that you can work at help you get through those times.”
As a law enforcement officer, Jones sees crime and loss from a different angle. Because the area is prone to drug-related and gang violence, he is quick to talk to young kinds about the dangers of not having a positive activity or hobby to focus on.
Dealing with the death of his loved ones at such an early age, Jones knows how easy it could have been to go down the wrong path. The climate of crime hasn’t changed so much in Millville that he doesn’t look back and is grateful for that invite to the gym all those years ago.
“It’s so easy for kids going through hard times to get distracted and do the wrong things,” Jones recounted. “Their first response to a bad day at school is, ‘Oh, well I’m gonna go sell drugs.’ You don’t have to run a business or always be in the gym, but it is important to know you can have another way out.”
While physical fitness is Jones’ solution to the negativity around him, he encourages people of all ages to find their niche. His passion lies in helping others realize that they can do anything they set their minds to. That they do not have to settle just because of where they live or their current state of mind.