Jefferson Award Winner: Sally Johnson

Eau Claire (WQOW) – A Colfax woman has spent almost a decade supporting local veterans out of a promise she made to her late husband.

Keeping that promise, Sally Johnson runs an unofficial veterans group that has turned into a social circle of support and friendship. She’s our July winner of the Jefferson Award for all she does to volunteer her time and effort.

Every Wednesday at the L.E. Phillips Senior Center in Eau Claire, you’ll find Johnson and her veteran friends. It’s not a formal organization or meeting. It is part get-together, part support group and sometimes part VA navigation help. “I know what it’s like to try to prove to the VA what they have been through, one, and what they are going through,” Johnson said.

It’s all because of her late husband Glenn who had served in Vietnam and suffered from PTSD long before that term was well-known. “I knew that it was important for my husband to have me try to help his brothers because of how they were treated,” Johnson said.

Years ago she started making quilts to give to her veteran friends to honor their service. She’s done dozens of them now, but only half actually go to the veterans. “I make two of every one and I keep one for my husband, and I donate the one to whoever I have chosen that it goes to,” Johnson said.

Over the years, the group has grown both in size and in nature: from friends to more like family. “It’s almost like seeing my husband here, because I look in their eyes and I can tell you who was in Vietnam and I can tell you what they’ve been through.”

There are veterans’ widows and veterans’ kids in the group as well. Johnson said she is grateful they took in her children.

If you know a volunteer making a difference in our community, click here to make a nomination. 

Savanna Tomei

Savanna Tomei

Savanna is the 6 p.m. producer and co-anchor, and also anchors the 10 p.m. newscast.

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