Christopher Johnson Memorial Fund
TRAGEDY BIRTHS BLESSING
With God, precious blessing can spring from horrendous tragedy. Chief Warrant Officer, former Green Beret Special Forces soldier, Christopher Johnson sacrificed his life in Iraq on August 14, 2007.
When he received his orders for deployment to Iraq, he had tried to reassure his family that he would be safe. He was a helicopter pilot, living his childhood and lifelong passion. Statistics were that only one in 100 helicopters went down. So the odds were with him. Nonetheless, he did try to warn his mom – to prepare her, just in case. He shared that if two soldiers ever came walking up her sidewalk, it meant he was gone. But, not to worry. It wouldn’t happen. After all, he’s been a Green Beret. Being a helicopter pilot was much safer.
But on August 14, two soldiers did come up the sidewalk with the awful news. Just three weeks into his Iraq stint, thirty year old Christopher Johnson left this life when his Chinook went down killing all aboard. He left behind his wife Vivian and three beautiful children, as well as his parents, two sisters, two grandmothers, many extended family members and multiple loving friends.
Though time has passed, and pain lingers on: good things – great things – and blessings are also occurring. Mary and Chuck Johnson, a retired mid-school teacher at Rehoboth school, felt led to start a special fund at Rehoboth in memory of Christopher. Numerous donors gave generously to the Christopher Johnson Memorial Fund.
Originally, the Johnsons had thought they might put the funds toward tuition for Rehoboth students. But, it wasn’t quite the perfect fit. Mary, who is an early childhood education instructor at the University of New Mexico- Gallup campus was also serving on a focus group who were discussing how to begin a PreK program at Rehoboth. The money was not there to remodel or build rooms for the PreK. When the Johnson’s found out that the amount needed to remodel matched the amount in the Memorial Fund, they knew the money would be given to begin a new Pre-K program in order to help many Native American and other children be prepared for learning in kindergarten.
Thus, a much needed service to the Gallup and Rehoboth communities, the new Pre-K, opened in August 2009. Thanks to the work of various volunteers and donated funds, the PreK continues to be up and running!
Christopher had two loves – flying helicopters and riding his Harley motorcycle (in addition to playing with his little kids). So, thanks to our generous donors and his wife, Vivian, there is a replica motorcycle and helicopter on the playground for the little ones to ride on and enjoy. In fact, a local Harley motorcycle club even sponsored a weekend motorcycle ride raising $550 in honor of veteran Chris.
We honor Christopher Johnson and thank his parents and all those who are giving and working to continue this great early education project for our community.
Those of you who would like to join in helping to further bless these precious little ones yet to be reached by this exciting new educational endeavor may also contribute to it through the Christopher Johnson Memorial Fund.