You Know You’re From...Weston: David Johnson

You Know You're From...Weston
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 8:44 PM CDT
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WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) - From that first greeting, there’s no denying David Johnson loves his job collecting donations at the Weston Goodwill.

“You meet so many people,” he said.

“It is through good grace and maybe a little bit of luck that he found his way to us,” said Tim Wavrunek, Manager of Programs and Partnerships.

‘Luck,’ by definition, would be the force that operates for good or bad in a person’s life. David knows a thing or two about luck.

“I mean, some people might not be as lucky.”

About 22 years ago a blood infection sent him into septic shock.

“My fingers all turned black. My feet turned black from the blood flow. I was in that coma for 3 weeks,” David recalled.

Unlucky in that it cost him his legs and half of all 10 fingers.

“When you wake up with no legs you’re like, ‘what am I gonna do?’”

With the use of prosthetics he had to learn to walk again.

“When I used to work in construction I used to walk on stilts and it’s the exact same thing. It was natural,” said David.

Walking into a new life, David had no luck in finding a steady job.

“He said, ‘hell you don’t even have no legs,” as he recalled one interview. “There’s no place that’s going to use you.’ And I said, ‘I said I can flip hamburgers as good as anyone else.’”

Finally, a year and a half ago, he landed on his feet at Goodwill. Nichole Thurs gave David what many others wouldn’t. A chance.

“Everybody has a story and it gets to you and it gets to me, you know. It’s great to see that excitement,” said Thurs, Senior Employment Navigator at the Weston Goodwill.

“I can get up, get dressed and walk out that door on my own makes me the happiest man in the world,” David added.

His luck almost ran out 4 months ago. David needed open heart surgery and had a pig valve put in.

“The guys says, do you think it worked on him? ‘Oink oink oink, it works,’” he said with a smile.

He quickly returned to work when he was cleared. Anxious to prove Goodwill right and others wrong. Spreading goodwill every day to everyone who is lucky enough to cross paths with him.

“It could not be any more perfect at this point,” said Wavrunek.

“Goodwill is excited and blessed to have him,” added Thurs.

“I don’t guess I’ll ever get rich, but I’ll be happy,” David claimed through a giggle.

David says none of this would be possible without his wife of 51 years, Deb, and the rest of his family.

You Know You're From...Weston