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Coach Matt Johnson and wife Hannah display the "King of the Tallapoosa" trophy after Reeltown's win over Tallassee last August.

Johnsons continue to help community

By Michael Butler

It is quite evident that Hannah and Matt Johnson have hearts of gold. The proof is in the giving.

The Johnsons continue to assist those who need it in the community around them.

Just this past holiday season, LIFT Ministries, founded by Hannah, gave 167 area children gifts for Christmas.

"That was full Christmases," Hannah said. "Each child probably got at least five or six items. It was a very humbling and amazing experience to see the communities come together. That's Tallassee and Reeltown. We took children from all the surrounding communities."

There are still families in need. And the Johnsons are spearheading another effort to chip in.

A fire destroyed Chase and Alicia Coan's home in the Reeltown Community on Feb. 15. The two other families are dealing with medical issues. CJ Ledbetter has a very rare autoimmune disease known as DPPX. There are only 39 confirmed cases worldwide. Andrus Love is battling lymphoblastic lymphoma leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

Alicia and Chase

"(Alicia) works with me at the daycare," Hannah added. "That hit real close to home for us. She's a real good friend of mine. That was a brand new home. They lost everything. I grew up with CJ. He was one of my little brother's friends. We were all raised together at the Dixie Youth fields. Andrus is a big part of our circle. (It's) such a devastating blow to his family, so unexpected with the cancer. That is such a financial burden.

"We just thought we'd do a gift card drive. I don't mind asking people for stuff. A lot of times people are leery of donating money, but they'll go buy a gift card. We thought if we could offset the costs of food because food is such a great expense."

Love is the recent recipient of the Frances H. Wagnon Volunteer of the Year Award presented by the Tallassee Chamber of Commerce. Like Love, Ledbetter and the Coans are the giving type themselves.

"All are known for helping anytime you need something. That's why it's so easy to do for them. If they're going to love you, it's easy to love them back."

Actor Michael J. Fox, who has battled Parkinson's Disease for decades, would surely hop into Doc Brown's time machine to flash back in time like his character in "Back to the Future" would do. Surely Love, Ledbetter and the Coans would do the same. But this is real life.

Fox quoted a lyric from the James Taylor song, "That's Why I'm Here," that inspired him in his daily battle against his own affliction. "Keep walking if you're walking even if it's an uphill climb." Although it might seem like you have already climbed Mount Everest - keep walking.

Donations may be made through Crossroads Learning Center on Highway 49 near Reeltown or via Coach Johnson at Reeltown School. They may also call Hannah directly at 334-328-1513. GoFundMe pages have also been set up. In addition, information is available on LIFT Ministries' Facebook page.