Fighting Back for Veterans

JTF is honored to be a part of the Fighting Back for Veterans Campaign, officially announced today.  Rocky Bleier in partnership with the Leadership League is releasing a special of edition of his book, Fighting Back.  The first 10,000 copies will be hand signed by Rocky and every purchase benefits a Veteran.  Below is the official press release.  



First 10,000 Copies of Book to Be Personally Autographed by Four-Time Super Bowl Champion and Vietnam War Hero


PITTSBURGH, PA (July 31, 2018) -- In conjunction with Leadership League, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier announced today that he is releasing a special edition of his classic book Fighting Back. He also announced that proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit three military veterans groups -- Veterans Leadership, Joint Training Facility and Legacies Alive -- through a new campaign called Fighting Back for Veterans.


Originally published in 1975 and written by Bleier with Terry O’Neil, Fighting Back chronicles one of the great comebacks in sports history. The story is told by Bleier who, after being seriously wounded during the Vietnam War in 1969, was described by the United States Army as 40 percent disabled. However, against tremendous odds, the former Notre Dame star fought his way back from debilitating injuries and became a four-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers.


For decades, Fighting Back has served as a shining example of courage, determination, and overcoming life’s toughest challenges. The new, special edition of the book -- officially titled Fighting Back: The Inspirational Journey of American Hero Rocky Bleier -- is now available at  and will be available at Steelers Pro Shops and via partner vendors at the start of the NFL season. It will not be available The first 10,000 copies will be signed by Bleier -- personally autographed, not stamped or printed on the book. In addition, the dust jacket for the special edition is a rich, soft-touch cover with embossed, gold foil detail.


Fighting Back: The Inspirational Journey of American Hero Rocky Bleier contains two new chapters that were written by longtime Pittsburgh sports columnist Gene Collier. The foreword for the new edition was written by Alejandro Villanueva, a captain in the U.S. Army who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan before pursuing a career in the NFL as an offensive lineman. He achieved that goal when he made the Steelers’ roster in 2015, and he was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2017.


Bleier, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, has actively supported causes related to military veterans for many years. The Fighting Back for Veterans campaign is the latest example.


"Being able to share my story with new generations and have proceeds from the sale of the book benefit veterans of the military is a perfect combination," said Bleier, who found out last weekend that he will be added to the Steelers’ Hall of Honor this year. “I’m delighted that the book still resonates more than 40 years after it was first published. Terry O’Neil did a great job helping me tell my story back in 1975, and Gene Collier and Alejandro Villanueva have made the new edition even better than the original.”  


Leadership League is partnering with Bleier to publish, promote and distribute the book and to oversee the Fighting Back for Veterans campaign. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Leadership League is a growth development firm that specializes in helping leaders to achieve success and significance. Areas of emphasis include venture development, strategic planning, marketing and communications, event management, and travel management.


“Rocky Bleier is an extraordinary man with an extraordinary story, and Leadership League is honored to join him in this endeavor,” said Damian Williams, the founder and CEO of Leadership League. “This inspirational book is a must-have for everyone -- those who don’t know Rocky’s full story yet and those who want to relive the incredible journey that made him a beloved figure in American sports. It is important to Rocky that proceeds from the sale of the book benefit military veterans. That’s another example of the character of this man, who was a hero on the battlefield and the football field.”


“Legacies Alive is honored to be chosen as a beneficiary of the Fighting Back for Veterans campaign,” said Mark Faldowski, one of the founders of Legacies Alive. “As a leader on the battlefield, gridiron and in life, Rocky knows that the strongest attribute to any organization is people. Our organization stands with Rocky and this monumental campaign to support our heroes and their families who have given so much for our country.”


For more information about Fighting Back: The Inspirational Journey of American Hero Rocky Bleier and the Fighting Back for Veterans campaign, or to arrange an interview with Rocky, members of the media should contact Jim Lachimia at (412) 708-9301 or The official website for the Fighting Back for Veterans campaign is

Who is JTF?

JTF has been operating in the area for about 3 years now. The owners, Ronda and Michael, are not originally from the local area. We choose to move to this area after doing our time, living and working in the DC Area for over 10 years. We were both Federal Government Employees who, after family losses, decided our life needed to change. 

After looking around at different places, we settled in Western Maryland. We brought our son who started and will finish his high school career at Northern High School.

We came here to serve the local community. We did not come to make money from tourism. We recognize the lack of affordable organized sports and recreation for local populations. 

We still have big plans. We will not quit until our plan is realized. It may take a different path. Nothing is going stop this former Soldier and Marine. We have an objective and it will be taken. 
If you want to learn more about who we are, please see the About Us page or ask a question here.

JTF Ends June and Begins July with Festival Set-Ups

The Summer Festival season is in full swing and JTF is happy to be a part of it.  On June 23rd, JTF participated, for the first time, at the 3rd Annual Beer, Wine, and Music Festival supporting the Allegany County Animal Shelter.  A little rain tried to spoil the fun but didn't keep away the participants from a great event.  

The last weekend of the month ushered in some of the hottest weather the area has witnessed.  It didn't deter JTF or supporters of events in Hancock and Lonaconing.  On June 30th, JTF participated for the second year in the Hancock Kick-Off Summer Festival.  JTF debuted the Outdoor Sports Arena used for Archery Tag.  JTF loves visiting our friends in Hancock, MD.  We look forward to the National Night Out in August.  The next day, July 1st, JTF premiered at Coney Days - Sunday in the Park.  It was great to be a part of this great small town community event.  JTF saw some familiar faces, met new friends, and had a wonderful time teaching Archery Tag to everyone.

JTF is available for festivals and celebrations throughout the Summer and Fall most of the time at no upfront cost to your organization.  Contact us today for more information.

JTF Celebrates the End of School Year at Bel Air Elementary

On 7 June 2018, JTF celebrated the end of the school year with the students and staff at Bel Air Elementary in Cumberland, Maryland.  The Bel Air PTO sponsored the event for the kids.  Thankfully, the relentless rain in the air took a couple days off allowing everyone to have a great time.  JTF set up all their activities for the kids such as bubble soccer, laser tag, archery tag, cornhole, snookball, ping pong/battle pong.  JTF also had special relay games for the younger participants.  It was beautiful day filled with fun and memories for all involved.  

JTF kicks off Spring/Summer season at NHS After Prom

The Joint Training Facility (JTF) was excited to be a first-time participant in the Northern Garrett High School After Prom this year.  The After Prom Committee wished to change the entertainment options for the kids.  JTF brought their unique brand of activities to the After Prom with events such as Archery Tag, Bubble Soccer, Laser Tag, and Dodgeball.  Archery Tag took the crowd favorite as the best activity.  The After Prom at Northern Garrett is a big end of the year activity drawing a big crowd and this year did not disappoint with around 170 tickets sold.  The JTF staff enjoyed the night with the kids.  We hope to be back next year!

JTF Summer Season is About to Heat Up!

The Joint Training Facility (JTF) is quickly filling up weekend slots for entertainment at local Western Maryland events.  The weather is getting warm (hopefully) and the festival is season is getting in full swing.  JTF's starts off in May at Little Crossing's in Grantsville at the Artisan & Epicurean Faire on May 19th.  Next, JTF is elated to go back to Hancock, Maryland to the Kick-Off Summer Festival on June 2nd.  On June 23rd, JTF will be at Woofstock.  Woofstock is the Allegany County Animal Shelter's Wine, Beer, and Music Festival at the Allegany Fair Grounds.  Finally, in August, we will again be supporting the Law Enforcement and Community Partnership National Night Out in Hancock, Maryland on August 7th.  

JTF has several other private bookings with local schools sprinkled in between these events.  We are also working on booking other festivals in July.  

Additionally, JTF launched an online booking feature to allow customers to reserve their spots on our calendars.  Hurray!  We are filling slots quickly.  See our Event Rentals Page for more information. 

JTF Holds Second Team Building Event at Beall Elementary

On January 24 2018, Bob Stevenson, Principal at Beall Elementary, welcomed JTF back for a second team building event with his teachers and staff during their professional development day.  JTF provided activities geared toward demonstrating the importance of communication and working together as a team.  Also, the activities gave the staff an opportunity to have fun and get some physical activity.  JTF enjoys using our experience from military and government to provide unique activities to teams and organizations to improve cohesion, communication, and cooperation.  

JTF Holds Free Day Camp with Santonio Holmes

On July 10th, 2017, JTF held a free day camp for local children featuring former NFL star Santonio Holmes and current United States Para Olympic Bobsledder, Jason Strum.  The camp ran from 9-3:30 at the Frostburg Armory and Baseball Field.  A total of 42 children from Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania attended the camp.  The athletes provided mentor sessions on how they became athletes, the hard work it takes to stay in shape, and nutrition of athletes.  Additionally, the athletes and children had multiple sessions of outdoor play with activities provided by the Joint Training Facility and Jump Around LLC.  The camp was made possible due to generous donations of community partners from the Savage River Lodge, Byco Enterprises, Subway Frostburg Plaza, Chick-fil-A Country Club Mall, Advanced Disposal, and Jump Around LLC.   

JTF Radio

The owners of a planned sports facility in Grantsville want to give you a chance to be a part of it. Joint Training Facility owners Michael Mc Closkey and Ronda Johnson are working to raise funds for the JTF which would bring sports tourism opportunities to the region. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the 1.5 million dollars needed for the JTF. They say this is a way for veterans to support veterans and for members of the community to be a part of the project. Once the funds are raised they will start with phase one the Joint Training Facility Lite which would include property development and construction of the first building focused on family entertainment and community center activities. JTF Lite will house indoor activities for all ages and also be the starting point for sports camps, education opportunities and community gatherings. Phase one construction will create a large outdoor field to host sports related camps, and other fun outdoor activities. Listen to the full interview here,

JTF to be at Grantsville Days, June 24-26.

Are you curious about what progress we have made?  Why is there no construction yet?  What is going on?  Come on out to Grantsville Days and visit our booth.  The JTF Team will be there to talk about our updated plans and timeline.  

Additionally we will be holding a raffle to help raise money for the El Foundation.  The El Foundation is former Pittsburgh Steelers player Antwaan Randle El's charitable activity serving under served youth and inspiring them to become leaders in their community.  

JTF will be raffling a basket full of Steelers memorabilia including a Terrible Towel signed by Randle El, a Hines Ward jersey, Rockey Bleier's book, "Fighting Back", Tunch Ilkin and Damian William's book, "Forged in Steel", and a Pittsburgh Steelers helmet signed by Troy Polamalu.  

Tickets will only be available at Grantsville Days!!  Come out and visit us!  For more information on the El Foundation, please visit