The Pennington First Aid Squad in curly text

Ode to The Gentle Giant
by Linda Hlavacek

    Our Gentle Giant is of course none other than James Johnson, a volunteer's volunteer for Pennington First-Aid these past 25 years. Can a 28-line poem capture the truth of a man's life? You be the judge.

There once lived a giant, but not in a shoe,
Who had so many children he knew what to do.
He loved them and raised them and watched as they grew,
All nine of their girls and a boy named Mark, too.

At home with his Barbara and now grandchildren galore,
When the siren goes off, he's still out the door,
To drive-and to aid on our calls by the score,
Instructions he gives us with his so gentle roar.

All those who are trapped in the cars that are smashed,
He frees with the Jaws, all the while unabashed,
Tough, but so gentle ... his teeth never gnash,
Our JJ comes through, be it Ford or a Nash.

A "Jack of all Trades" this giant has been,
From building the radio room to repairing engines,
He's held many jobs on the outside and in,
His Fund Drives raise thousands to put in our tin.

When patients do challenge, and the going gets rough
And we all get the feeling we've had quite enough
Our Jimmy delivers with results and no bluff,
The soft-hearted giant can also be tough.

Through fields near and far, to provide he does roam
Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone ...
No matter who's with him, on land or on foam,
We've all heard him say ...
"Stop for breakfast on the way home?"

We thank you, Gentle Giant
For all of your service ...
With most sincere thanks,
I'll just stop now ... I'm nervous.

    Mrs. Hlavacek, a veteran member of Pennington First-Aid, read her "Ode" to Jimmie Johnson at the Squad's annual awards dinner, held at Charlie's Brother on January 27, 1990.