People of Alabama: Jason Darty of Jasper

People of Alabama: Jason Darty of Jasper
Jason Darty finds true wealth exists in people and experiences. (Tamika Moore / People of Alabama)

“People with the least are usually the happiest. I was in East Timor, it used to be part of Indonesia. They split off and became their own country in the early 2000s. When Indonesia pulled out, they pretty much destroyed everything. We went there to build some medical centers and orphanages, and saw people who had absolutely nothing who were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met in my life to date. It kind of changed my outlook on things. They had nothing. I don’t find value in money and things; it’s experiences and people where wealth really lies.” – Jason Darty of Jasper

Jason Darty is a Navy veteran. (Tamika Moore / People of Alabama)

Darty is a Navy veteran who has been to 43 countries and every state except Maine. He said joining the Navy was one of the best decisions he has ever made. Now, he teaches at Gracie United Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Jasper, Winfield and Gardendale.

“If you surround yourself with people trying to better themselves, you have no choice but to better yourself. That’s what we do here. Every day we come in and just try to be better than we were the day before. When I started jiu-jitsu, I was 300 pounds, couldn’t do the warmup, on blood pressure medicine, borderline diabetic and I lost 100 pounds in less than a year, left a six-figure job in underwater construction and now I teach to help people. Jiu-jitsu is for everybody. Once you start, it’s everyday life. It’s everything you do. It teaches you to be calm. It teaches you to relax.”

These are the faces and stories of people from all walks of life who call Alabama home. People of Alabama is a Red Clay Media and Alabama NewsCenter partnership.

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