I Am Waters

Today is 05.31.2020

Once Homeless, Deputy Patrols Streets Where He Once Slept | Augusta , Georgia | The Augusta Chronicle

Last June, Ryan Jones spent an oddly cool summer night sleeping under the John C. Calhoun Expressway bridge.

In a few days, he would attend Augusta Technical College training to be a police officer. The rest of his time was spent roaming the streets looking for shelter for the night.
“I got to know downtown Augusta real well,” said the Conyers, Ga., native.
Since 2009, Jones has gone from a military stint in Iraq to being homeless on the streets of Augusta to recently getting his badge as a Richmond County Sheriff’s deputy. When thinking about the last year, now that their family is back together again, Jones’ wife, Atiah, acknowledges how rough things were.
“We’ve been through a lot,” she said. “But I never doubted him. And look at him now.”
Jones, 25, was hired by the sheriff’s office in February after graduating from the 18-week Peace Officers Training Academy. He now patrols some of the same streets that he found himself sleeping on less than a year ago.
His journey from homelessness to police officer began after he returned from a one-year deployment in Iraq in June 2010. Jones got the call that his reserve unit was being sent overseas a year earlier while he was in school pursuing a criminal justice degree with the intention to go into law enforcement. During his first leave he married Atiah, mother of his 2-year-old son Bukhari.
After Jones returned to Conyers, he moved his family to Charlotte, N.C., to look for work and continue school. He moved his young family into a house with the little money he had saved from his time in Iraq, even though his mother had surgery while he was gone, which took a lot of it. That move would be the beginning of his long slide.