Monday, December 22, 2014

"A giving heart," from Baghdad to Chester

Iraq war veteran and former crack addict Fred Johnson is helping fellow vets on the streets of Chester

"A giving heart," from Baghdad to Chester

Fred Johnson (left), speaks with a Vietnam vet. After returning from Iraq, Johnson became an addict. (David Maialetti / Staff)
Fred Johnson (left), speaks with a Vietnam vet. After returning from Iraq, Johnson became an addict. (David Maialetti / Staff)

We sometimes get accused here of focusing too much on the negative. No argument there. This blog isn't about blowing sunshine where you don't need it to be blown.

But I want to direct you to Daily News reporter Natalie Pompilio's excellent profile of Fred Johnson, a 41-year-old Iraq war veteran and former crack addict who is helping Chester veterans. From Natalie's story:

In the VA hospital outside Baltimore, Johnson remembers watching fellow patients line up for the daily drug dispensings and feeling their stress choking him.

Wali Mutazammil, Johnson's roommate in Baltimore and a Heroes Today board member, discussed the concept of the nonprofit with Johnson.

"It's very personal," said Mutazammil, a Vietnam veteran. "We're here to embrace you and be with you for as long as it takes, even the rest of your life."

Read the whole thing, then check out Johnson's group Heroes Today.

About this blog
In The Daily Delco blog, Daily News reporters William Bender and Stephanie Farr dig up all the dirt - from crazy crimes to political malfeasance and everything in between - in Delaware County.

E-mail tips to Bender at benderw@phillynews.com or call him at 215-964-2099. Follow him on Twitter: @wbender99

E-mail tips to Farr at farrs@phillynews.com or call her at 215-854-4225. Follow her on Twitter: @farfarraway

William Bender and Stephanie Farr
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