Meet the Johnsons

a 2012

Melissa Johnson and her husband, Sean, were married in 1995 and raised their three children in Aberdeen, SD.    She taught for 15 years in Special Education and First Grade.

Melissa earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Huron University in 1994 and her Special Education Certification from Northern State University in 1996.  Melissa spent 15 years with the Aberdeen School District as both a Special Education Teacher and a First Grade Teacher.

Sean completed paramedic school in 1992.  He served the Aberdeen Fire Department for 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic.  He received his Associate’s Degree in Fire Science and Emergency Management and Administration from Chattanooga State College in 2002.  He retired (medically) from the Fire Department as a Lieutenant in 2008.

Sean enlisted in the US Army Reserve in 1988.  He has deployed three times during his 24 year career in the military.  He served with the 311th Evac Hospital during Operation Desert Storm (1991), and with the 452nd Ordnance Company during Operation Joint Guard (1997) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2005-2006).  Sean was injured by a mortar blast on March 25, 2006 in Balad, Iraq.  The blast resulted in a traumatic brain injury.  Sean is also legally blind and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

When Sean returned home in 2007, the family struggled to adjust to this “new” man in their house.  Melissa eventually left her teaching job to become a full-time caregiver to her husband.  She is now a certified caregiver through the VA’s Caregiver Program.

Both Melissa and Sean have been active with the Blinded Veterans Association since 2009. Melissa is a volunteer Caregiver Coordinator with the BVA’s Operation Peer Support group established for OIF/OEF veterans and their families.  She serves as secretary on the National Board of the BVA Auxiliary.

Sean serves as Commander of his local VFW chapter and is also the Junior Vice of the local Disabled American Veterans chapter.  He is currently training as a tandem cyclist as part of The United States Association of Blind Athletes’ Military Sports Program.  He competed at the USA Cycling Nationals in Augusta, GA in 2011 and 2012.

Since June 2011 Melissa has been an active volunteer with Family Of a Vet and now serves on FOV’s staff as an advocate for our nation’s heroes and their families.  In October 2012 she joined the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as a Caregiver Fellow.  She is honored to work alongside other caregivers from across the nation to raise awareness of the issues facing our nation’s caregivers and familes.

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