Letter to the Editor

Marge Johnson: A quiet hero

Sunday, April 20, 2008

To the editor:

An obituary last Monday bore news of the passing of Marge Johnson. It stated the usual facts of birth, marriage and family and then noted that she "worked in cleaning business." What was not mentioned was that she and her late husband, the Rev. Roy Johnson, were visionaries who saw a need and sacrificed to meet that need.

In the late 1960s the Johnsons heard that Teen Challenge, then a relatively new Christian organization ministering to drug addicts and alcoholics, wanted to start a training center in the Midwest. Out of love for those in need and in obedience to Christ, they donated their 270-acre farm in Cape Girardeau County for this project. They also worked on the staff for the first few years of the ministry.

Since their generous gift there have been more than 5,000 men who have participated in the Teen Challenge program and approximately 3,500 who have successfully completed it. Whenever anyone said anything to Mrs. Johnson about giving the property, she would humbly say it was her husband's idea, but clearly she was behind it all the way.

Yes, Mrs. Johnson did work in the cleaning business, but she really was a quiet hero whose generosity and vision have touched thousands of lives. We should all strive to be like her.

JACK SMART, Executive Director, Teen Challenge International of Mid-America, Cape Girardeau