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Spc. Chad Johnson surprises students with visit

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

A local hero paid a visit to a group of fourth graders early this month.
Spc. Chad Johnson, the Lockhart solider who was critically injured in Iraq in September spent the holidays at home. While in town, he visited with students at Navarro Elementary and spent an afternoon at Lockhart High.
After learning of Johnso

n”s injuries last fall, fourth-grade teacher Tammy Knutson encouraged her class to “adopt” the injured soldier. Each of the students sent an individual letter to Johnson. Before Christmas, they sent a care package, which included a miniature Christmas tree, a portable CD player and several other gifts.
The students returned from the holiday break waiting to hear from their hero. Several days later, their classroom door opened and Johnson entered quietly, accompanied by his mother.
“The surprise visit meant a great deal to our classroom,” Knutson said. “The children were eager to meet him and thank him for his military service.”
During his visit, Johnson spoke with the students about the importance of education, studying and making good grades. He thanked them for their support, and fielded questions from the children about the life of a soldier.
“We are proud to have Spc. Chad Johnson representing the community of Lockhart in America”s efforts to aid the people of Iraq,” Knutson said. “We were honored with his presence.”
Knutson pledged that her class would continue to write to Johnson.
The soldier, who has returned to Washington, D.C., where he continues to receive physical therapy, was injured during the opening of a sewage plant in Baghdad, Iraq on Sept. 28, 2004.
A car-bomber ambushed his unit while they were passing candy and toys to Iraqi children. After the first bombing, Johnson was hit by a second bomb while assisting other members of his unit.
Part of Johnson”s left leg was severed by the blast. He also suffered a shattered right foot and a corneal abrasion. Further, shrapnel was embedded in his skull. To date, he has been through 13 surgeries and continuing physical therapy.
Johnson plans to attend college and pursue a career in law.

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