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  • Jeff Slaughter

“Get up off that couch and stop watching Gunsmoke!!”

By Jeff Slaughter

Johnny Long was sitting comfortably in church one Sunday morning when Sister Patricia

stood up to make an announcement.

But he got uncomfortable real quick when the volunteer for Mobility Worldwide of East

Alabama and West Georgia said, “Ya’ll get up off that couch and stop watching Gunsmoke all day! Spend some time doing something worthwhile!”

To Johnny’s credit, he was recently retired and had just begun to look for something to do. And Sister Patricia’s announcement came at the perfect time.

So, the 71-year-old Seale, Alabama native answered the call that day and started


No Stranger to Hard Work

No stranger to hard work, Johnny worked at a Michelin tire plant for 32 years, followed by

a second 12-year career driving a school bus.

“For most of my career, I worked with metals,” he said. “And 95% of that is solving

problems. So that skill prepared me to be useful at the shop.”

Johnny drives the 26-mile roundtrip to the shop twice a week to volunteer one-half day

each time. There, he drills holes in metal, smooths metal edges to make them safe, and

paints frames.

Blessed to Be a Blessing

One of the things Johnny enjoys most about volunteering is getting to know and work with the other volunteers.

“God blesses us to bless others,” said Johnny. “Everybody in the shop has their own special gift: welders, upholsterers, woodworkers – there’s something for everyone to do.”

Johnny says that Sister Patricia’s advice rings true. “It’s good for us when get out and do

something worthwhile,” he said. “The less you do, the less you want to do!”

Reflecting on the leg-disabled individuals who benefit from the carts that he helps builds, Johnny said, “I’ve been broke before, but never been left with nothing,” he said. “We’re giving these folks a lift up.”

And that makes Johnny feel better than sitting on the couch watching Gunsmoke.

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