December 1, 2010 – James Johnson
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Before James Johnson headed off to Iraq in 2004, his family had already been fighting a battle. His then three-year-old daughter Gracie had leukemia. Although Johnson didn't have to go, but the Nelson Elementary 4th grade teacher decided it was his duty.
"It was a very active time in Baghdad at that particular time," said Johnson. "We were getting ready for the first elections. That was January of '05. So there was never a dull moment."
Then tragedy struck while Johnson was patrolling in Baghdad.
"I was in a Bradley fighting vehicle, which looks like a small tank. We rolled over a roadside bomb. The bomb killed two soldiers and wounded four of us. We were sent home to spend 12 months at Brook Army Medical Center."
It was 2005 now and to make matters worse, Hurricane Rita heavily damaged the Johnson's home...with James in the hospital and his wife and daughter traveling to Houston for cancer treatments.
"We certainly don't feel like we were being punished or anything. Honestly, quite the opposite. We like our family and our faith is what got us through the difficult times. We kind of hope we're done with that for a little while. We feel like we deserve a little bit of a break."
Johnson received a Purple Heart for his wounds.
By the way, Johnson says Gracie's doing fine now and is cancer free.