ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — One area Navy veteran is hoping to teach lessons he learned in one uniform to local kids wearing a different kind of uniform. Freddie Johnson, Junior served our nation from 1988 to 1994. But then he came back home continuing to make a difference by coaching youth sports.
“I joined the military to make a difference. My grandfather was in the military and I looked up to him I wanted to make a difference. He was a cook in the military and I was an aircraft director and that is what I did. I served two tours in Iraq,” said Johnson, Jr.
Once Freddie Johnson, Junior got out of the military, he wanted to serve in a different way. It has been Johnson’s passion to give back to the local youth. For the past 30 years, Johnson has been a youth coach. Currently, he is coaching in the Virginia Hellcats football program.
“When I was younger, I had older people that always took care of me. People like Millard Bolden, Lewis Brown, Collin Jungle, they took care of me and they took care of us in the community. I want to try to help the youth the best way I can. I did it by starting my own foundation. It is called Joyous Givers,” shared Johnson, Jr. “We do a lot to help out inner city youth. Just anybody no matter what color they are. None of that matters, we just try to help out, whether it be cleats or basketball shoes. whatever a child needs to succeed here in this troubled world.”
For Johnson, he is applying what he’s learned in the military to helping the young people of today.
“I try to teach the kids that they need to have responsibility. They need to try to keep up with things like in the military. At a young age of 18, we had to walk to the line so I had to show the kids that they have to come together and work together as a unit and as a military unit and that is what we teach,” said Johnson, Jr.
Johnson is also a pastor said he makes God the foundation of his team – and therefore all things come together for the program.