SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On March 8 of last year vaccines were beginning to roll out, our pandemic was coming off its winter surge, and we lost one of San Diego's finest. Many of you know of Sprouts Farmer's Market but the man behind the grocery store chain was remarkable beyond belief. And the true spirit of Positively San Diego.
It's been almost a year. And yet emotions are still raw.
"I feel like this year has been a year of healing for sure. and growing. Especially spiritually, trying to connect with him," says wife Heather Boney.
Time is supposed to heal all wounds but when you're an icon of the community like Shon Boney was, time can feel irrelevant.
"Yeah, we have good days and bad," adds daughter Brooke. "There are times where it doesn't even feel like it happened."
It was March 8 of 2021 when Shon Boney lost his life to brain cancer at the age of 52. He helped build an empire with Sprout's grocery stores. But we've come to learn it was his selfless commitment to those in need that made him special.
"I looked up to him so much," says oldest daughter Sydney. "And, I'm just really glad I had him as my dad."
Most people knew Shon as a businessman. What they didn't know was his passion for all things adventurous. He could have been a world-class skier, maybe even a professional baseball player. But at 14 it was flying that became his passion. And it was that magnanimous spirit that turned the passion into philanthropy flying cancer patients and veterans to their treatments and surgeries free of charge on his own planes.
"How we got introduced was through the VAC. Veterans Airlift Command," says Marine veteran Jason Ross.
Shon was drawn to those in need. But especially to those like Jason Ross who somehow bring joy to others despite their misfortunes.
"That fact that I can make light of everything. Yes, I know I'm catastrophically injured. Yes, I'm aware, I used to be 6'2". Now I'm 3'6". I'm very much aware that things have changed drastically," adds Ross.
A double amputee from the waist down Jason's t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Today is Leg Day" says everything you need to know about his attitude on life. Even after his catastrophic injury 11 years ago.
"I was in Sangin, Afghanistan," says Ross sharing where his injury took place.
Jason joined the Marines right out of high school in 2001. He eventually became an EOD, the guys who find and destroy bombs. March 7, 2011 was his last patrol.
"I stepped on it and there were 10 pounds of explosives underneath it," says Ross. "And yeah, that kind of ruined my day. As I tell people, as an EOD tech I did my job. I found the IED and got rid of it."
Jason was only given a 2% chance to live. And has since undergone over 250 surgeries. Which is how these two remarkable people came together. Shon was flying Jason to a prosthetic specialist in Colorado. But his plane wasn't exactly equipped for a wheelchair.
"Before what they were doing, it was kind of sketchy at first," says Ross with a smile.
So Shon, ever the advocate, hand-built a ramp for Jason. His daughter Sydney was lucky enough to witness her dad's clever work.
"My dad went to Home Depot and got some makeshift ramps to get his wheelchair up and, yeah, the whole process just turned out a lot better and safer," says Sydney.
"I could tell definitely that he was going above," adds Ross. "They were doing things for me, that you would not expect."
It's that spirit of giving we hope you remember most about Shon Boney this March. A Positively San Diego spirit.
"He's always been that person. And he continues to be that person," says Heather holding back tears. "And he continues to inspire so many people. Including myself. I've learned a lot."
If you wish to honor Shon Boney and his Positively San Diego spirit we ask that you donate to one of his favorite charities helping others in need. Please consider visiting Veterans Airlift Command, Angel Flight West, or Challenge Center.