John Austin Johnson survived five IED attacks, but the sixth one left him with brain damage. When he came home, he expected to see his wife and three children -- only to find out two of his children had died in a car accident and the third was on life support.
Sadly, Michelle Malkin is reporting that their third son, Tyler Johnson, has also passed away from his injuries.
Earlier this month, Johnson and his wife, Mona Lisa, buried their 9-year-old son, Tyler Anthony Johnson. The little boy had been on life support for several weeks after sustaining critical injuries in a horrible car accident. He was on his way with his family to see his dad in recuperation at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He never made it. The family car rolled over several times after being hit by powerful blasts of wind. Tyler was laid to rest at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Benton, Ark. That is not all.
The Johnsons had two other children. Ashley Mishelle was 5 years old. Logan Wesley was 2. They were killed instantly in the same car crash that claimed their older brother’s life. During the funeral service, the Benton Courier reported, the program included Ashley Mishelle’s favorite song — Ashley Simpson’s “Pieces of Me” — and Sarah McLachlan’s haunting “In the Arms of an Angel.” White doves were donated by a retired military officer.
To lose one child is devastating enough. To lose three? While recovering from traumatic war injuries? And to bury three little angels just weeks before Thanksgiving? No parent can read of suffering like that of the Johnsons and indulge the petty, selfish complaints of holiday gripers and road-ragers. The complainers featured on the nightly news this week wallowing in self-pity over a few hours’ delay on the road or in the air need to get a grip, get over themselves and get some perspective.
I, and countless other bloggers, asked you to donate to the Johnson family in their time of need -- and you rose up and showed that the spirit of selfless generosity is still alive and well in Americans everywhere.
More than 200 Patriot Guard Riders attended Tyler's funeral and served as pallbearers. (The Patriot Guard Riders, if you are not yet familiar, are a group of patriots who serve as protection during military funerals against scum-of-the-earth people like the Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church.) Anonymous donors supplied the headstones and gravesites for the children. Soldiers Angels provided hotel stays for the family (including extended family), and The Dallas Veteran Service Organization and the Veterans of Foreign Wars provided meals. Hertz and National supplied the family with rental cars, while Operation Comfort provided gas.
There's still more.
The Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program made it possible for Johnson to get to his wife after the accident, and American Airlines provided airfare for the Johnsons travel for their children's funerals. The Professional Golfers Association raised $95,000, which was used for a new car, and Operation Homefront is using the leftover funds to build a playground in the children's memory at Fort Bliss, Texas. And let's not forget the generous Americans who donated to the family at Bank of America.
To all of those who were able to help this veteran and his family in their time of need -- from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Anyone who cannot be touched by this family's trials must not have a heart.
Through this pain and tragedy does come a silver lining, however. As I said above, clearly the spirit of generosity is alive and well in America. And please let this serve as a reminder of what really matters, and not only during the holidays. It always somewhat disturbs me how much emphasis gets put on food and presents during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, I'm not a scrooge who thinks that we shouldn't enjoy great food and presents or anything. But people everywhere should take the time to stop and realize just how much we really do have to be thankful for. No matter how bad your life may seem, there are blessings that abound if you'll only open your eyes to see them. And whether it's to one family suffering or a local non-profit organization, please think about opening your heart this year to those who are in need.
To close, I'd like to ask all of you to keep these companies that so generously helped the Johnson family in mind this holiday season.
Bank of America
Patriot Guard Riders
The Dallas Veteran Service Organization
The Professional Golfer's Association
The Fisher House Foundation
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Update on the Johnson family
Please help the Johnson family