By David Dickens
Photo, left by Randy Jordan: Mayor Bill Wells presents proclamation to Jimmie Johnson
June 17, 2014 (El Cajon)-- On this beautiful day in downtown El Cajon, friends, family, fans, and promoters gathered to pay honor to NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.
Today’s event was not only to thank Johnson for his accomplishments on the track, but his dedication to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. The foundation has provided $6.5 million in funding for public schools across the country. El Cajon schools were also recipients of this generous gift.
This event was engineered by the El Cajon City Council. On hand to lead the event was the Mayor of El Cajon, Bill Wells.
Although Jimmie won his 69th race on Sunday, he was thrilled to be home with the El Cajon locals. The racing legend was very appreciative of the recognition given concerning his racing career, but more of the focus was given to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation launched by Jimmie and his wife, Chandra, in 2006. The foundation’s current focus is K-12 public schools across the nation. In addition, Jimmie selects five charities each year from k-12 public schools to be featured on his Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope. Charities are nominated by fans nationwide and voted on by the public.
Today was officially dubbed Jimmie Johnson Day by the El Cajon City Council. One of the many media outlets on hand was local radio 101.5 KGB FM airing the event live.
Jimmie is definitely a phenomenal individual on and off the track, and has been for most of his life. I knew him personally years ago. We both attended Greenfield Junior High in El Cajon around 1988. We were in Reading Lab together. I can remember Jimmie going out of his way to make people laugh. Jimmie was definitely a jokester. He always had a big heart as well.
At today’s event, there were also several displays of Jimmie Johnson memorabilia including one of his old race cars from 2006. Jimmie being so humble, signed several autographs and “Hero Cards.”
Probably the most memorable of the festivities was the unveiling of the Jimmie Johnson Drive sign, brought on by the El Cajon City Council. Jimmie spoke to the crowd for a bit, as if he was amongst brothers and sisters.
Jimmie Johnson will definitely go down in history as a great humanitarian and racing icon. We all thank you Jimmie for remembering your East County roots.