The college community said "safe fini flight" to our most senior class agent, Major General Earl Johnson ’38, at the Pioneer Chapel this past weekend. The group was small – after all, the General had outlived virtually all of his friends.
However, one of his favorite experiences at Wabash, his time in the Phi Delta Theta house, was the center of the celebration of his life. Donna Dawson, General Johnson’s daughter, accepted an award from the International fraternity. The award has been made only five times and goes to a member of the fraternity who truly distinguished himself in the service of our Country. In addition, several current members of the fraternity were there to pay their respects.
It reminded me that we often focus our attention on the alumni who go on to be highly successful. And we should celebrate those whose leadership and effort make a difference out in the "real world". But there are also those who toil behind the scenes – teachers, ministers, and those in the service – whose efforts often go without celebration but whose tasks are absolutely critical to the life we enjoy today.
General Johnson was indeed one of those difference makers.