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Heritage Hills banquet highlights hunting, fishing, biking, golfing

Wesley Jones of "Unlimited Outdoors" will be the featured speaker at the Heritage Hills Baptist Church Outdoor Sports Banquet on June 16.

Wesley Jones of "Unlimited Outdoors" will be the featured speaker at the Heritage Hills Baptist Church Outdoor Sports Banquet on June 16.

TV personality Wesley Jones from "Unlimited Outdoors" will be the guest speaker at the upcoming Outdoor Sports Banquet hosted by Heritage Hills Baptist Church June 16. A quadriplegic who hunts from his wheelchair, Jones, a Conyers resident, has a TV program with his brother that inspires, educates and entertains outdoor enthusiasts.

"We're very excited about this first time opportunity to provide this for the community and hope many will bring their entire families to come view the exhibits and hear Wesley's story," said Jan Ross, missions coordinator at Heritage Hills.

This is the first Outdoor Sports Banquet Heritage Hills has ever had and it will be held at the church, which is located at 2987 Ga. Highway 212 in Conyers. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and younger and are available through the church office by calling 770-922-2027.

Exhibitors will set up in the Heritage Hills Family Life Center to share information about their favorite sports activities and supplies. There is no charge for a booth in the exhibit area and anyone interested in participating is asked to call Jeff Ross at 678-910-7855.

"Our goal is to be an outreach to the community and it's an event for the entire family, not just for men, but for men, women and children. There will be a Daisy BB shooting range set up there that's an indoor shooting range where kids can participate. We hope to get some of the children who will bring their parents," said Ross.

Exhibits include displays and items for hunters, bikers, golfers and fishermen. Wayne Kelly Taxidermy will have an exhibit featuring his work and other groups attending include the Christian Motorcycle Association and the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

The exhibits open at 5 p.m. followed by dinner from 6:15 to 7:30, at which time Jones will speak. Door prizes will be given at 8:30 p.m.

Dinner is a catered chicken and pork barbecue meal served in the fellowship hall.

Ross, who has known Jones since he was a baby, said he has "an awesome story to tell about God's healing power and grace."

In April 1987, Jones, his brother Reggie and two other friends played in a tree house behind their house. Jones, 9 at the time, climbed up the tree house ladder to a rope they had tied from the tree house to another tree. The boys attached a pulley and the boys would hold on and slide down to the bottom.

The rope had been moved to the top of the roof and was about 20 feet above the ground when Jones decided to be the first boy to try the new slide at such a great height.

The rope snapped and sent Jones crashing to the ground head first.

Jones broke his neck and became a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. With the exception of being barely able to move one arm, Jones had no movement or feeling from his neck down. There were other complications, including a collapsed lung and other breathing problems that resulted in Jones having a tracheotomy.

After Jones' recovery, his family wanted to help him enjoy some of the things he had loved before the accident. They tried to take Jones hunting, but he couldn't hold the rifle. He grew bitter and gave up on the sport.

Through trial and error, his brother made a rifle holder to attach to Jones' wheelchair which gave him back some of his independence. Jones began once again to enjoy the outdoors and spending time in the woods.

He graduated from high school and began attending Georgia State University, majoring in psychology. He planned to help others who had spinal cord injuries.

One morning while sitting in a deer stand, Jones said God gave him direction for his life that combined helping others and being in the outdoors. He knew that if people saw someone like him excel beyond his expected potential, he could encourage millions, he said.

Jones, along with his brother, cofounded "Unlimited Outdoors," a weekly TV show that documents Jones' travels and hunting expeditions throughout the U.S. He is the only quadriplegic host of a nationally-televised outdoor TV show in the country. The show now reaches more than 75 million homes each week.

Through the show, Jones shares his message of faith and the power of determination. He is in-demand as a motivational speaker for corporations, churches, schools and other groups. To learn more, visit www.unlimitedoutdoors.info.

Beth Sexton is a freelance writer based in Snellville. If you have a story idea, email Karen Rohr, features editor, at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.