A generous gift for Johnny Johnson

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Johnny Johnson’s new motorized scooter, courtesy of the Benson Lions and the entire community, has allowed him to get around the town with ease and allows him to venture much farther away from his home than he was accustomed to.  Despite being very independent and wanting to do things for himself, Johnny was very appreciative to everyone for the generous gift.

Cost of an off-road, motorized scooter?  About $3,500.  Cost to build a shed to house the scooter?  About $1,500.  The never-ending smile that was on Johnny Johnson’s face from the moment he saw his new scooter?  Priceless!
Yes, the Benson Lions Club, as well as other civic organizations in the community, have done a lot of great things over the years, but the most-recent project by the Lions Club to buy a new off-road motorized scooter for Johnny Johnson not only helped someone in need, it will change his life.
Johnny, a 1980 graduate of Benson High School, who has been challenged since birth, has never had it easy getting around town.  Many people in the community can picture Johnny trying to get his lawnmower around town so he could mow the post office lawn, or trying to get around with his three-wheel bike using one of his hands to propel the wheels forward.
The new four-wheeled motorized scooter for Johnny will allow him to get around town easier, become even more involved with community events, and socialize with others all over town.
The Benson Lions Club sponsored a spaghetti supper fundraiser Sept. 26, to help raise money for the project, and over 350 people signed the guest book, but many others came and didn’t sign, or just decided to leave some money for a great cause.
Patrick’s Pub and Grill came up with its own idea to raise money.  During a local golf tournament last weekend, the Patrick Sullivan Foundation, in memory of Patrick Sullivan, decided it would match whatever amount the golfers raised.  That figure ended up being $1,800, which the Patrick Sullivan Foundation donated to the Lions Club and the Johnny Johnson scooter project.
“The people in the community have been very generous with this project,” the Lions Club members said.  “Once we told everyone what we were doing, everyone started joining in to make sure it got done.  They all thought it was a great idea.”
Although Johnny always liked getting around in his bike, due to decreased mobility, he has been unable to ride his three-wheeled bike.
“I’ve been watching Johnny get around the way he does and I’ve always wanted to help him in some way,” said Benson Lions’ Club member Woody Dokken.  “The Benson Lions Club talked it over and we decided we wanted to help him out  by buying a scooter that he can use to get around town.
“Some of the scooters I’ve seen weren’t user-friendly, but the one we got for Johnny (a four-wheel Golden Patriot scooter) is an off-road model that would allow him to get around town easier, travel out at the Northside Rec Area, and get to other places that don’t have sidewalks or roads.”
Once the Lions Club purchased the scooter, members of the group, along with other community volunteers, did some renovations at the Johnson home to accommodate the scooter and allow Johnny to ride his scooter directly into a covered shed and be able to proceed directly into his home without having to go back outside.
When the Lions Club members dropped off the scooter at Johnny’s, they gave him a quick lesson and then he was off.  First, he tried going up the ramp and driving into his shed.  Once inside, he pivoted the seat, got off the scooter and used his walker to go inside the side door to the home.
When he’s ready to leave again, he simply gets on the scooter, backs out of the shed, does a small backward turn and then goes forward again down the ramp.
The scooter is equipped with water bottle holders, front and rear lights, a control panel with a safety horn, flashers, turn signals and more, and four-wheel independent suspension for going offroad.  The scooter goes up to  8-10 miles per hour and has a range of about 15 miles.
Once Johnny was used to the scooter, he took it for a longer test drive toward Northside Elementary School and then ran into a neighbor friend, Rod Benson, whom he spent some time talking with before heading down the road again.
Johnny’s world just opened up a little; thanks to the Lions Club and the Benson community.
“Johnny’s been such a great member of the community that we didn’t have much problem in getting the money and additional volunteer workers necessary to complete this project,” Dokken said.  “Everyone loves Johnny.  I just wish we had thought of this project sooner.”

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