CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. – It was a six-mile walk that got Xavier Jones to his middle school graduation. His journey had gained the attention of a university, but that wasn’t the only way his hard work and dedication were noticed. At Cahokia High School in Illinois, Terron Armstead joined others to gift Jones and his family a car and a bike.
“Just to see his family, to get a chance to get transportation, for him to be rewarded for something he did himself,” Armstead said.
For the last 10 years, Armstead has been investing in the place he used to call home. He heard about the news of Jones’ journey and wanted to take action quickly; he wasn’t the only one. The Terron Armstead Foundation joined forces with Bommarito Automotive and others.
“It all happened pretty fast,” said Emile Williams with Bommarito Automotive.
Thousands of steps took Jones from West Florissant in north St. Louis all the way to Midtown. Impressed with his dedication, it landed him a full-ride scholarship to Harris-Stowe State University.
“Six miles… is… I mean, I can’t do it,” Armstead said.
The NFL star was joined by other players, like Tyreek Hills. It started with a packed crowd at Cahokia High School. Armstead said it was why they were there that made it more important.
“It’s humbling, it’s motivating, it’s exciting,” he said.
Armstead said he has gotten a chance to know Jones and his family.
“Xavier has six siblings, his mom passed away a couple of years ago,” he said. “He’s being raised by his grandfather, who is disabled.”
Shooting hoops back in Cahokia High, where he once attended school, Armstead said it was the halftime that stole the show. During this, Armstead, Bommarito, and others gifted Jones’ family with their new car.
Excited and surprised, it brought hugs and happiness to the high school.
“It’s beautiful, I’m telling you. I don’t have enough words for that,” Jones’s grandfather said, describing the experience.
Now equipped with a car, a bike, and more, Jones has a message for others.
“Stay in school… do your best,” he said.