Acts of Kindness: Veteran lends a helping hand

Shannon Johnson, a former veteran, helps other veterans get the services they need at the VA.

EUGENE, Ore. - In Lane County, an ex-military man has continued his service with a mission to help other veterans get the services and help they need through the VA.

Those who work with him, however, say he is always willing to go the extra mile.

His name is Shannon Johnson, and he is an Assistant Veteran Services Coordinator.

There are a lot of rules and regulations he must adhere to in order to help these veterans to get the services they need through the VA, but veterans who have received Shannon's help say that when he is on a mission, he always gets the job done.

Shannon served in the military for about 20 years, some spent in the Army, but most in the Air Force.

Now out of the military, he is helping other veterans through services at the VA.

He's been with Lane County Health and Human Services for about 11 years, and his work stretches way beyond Eugene, even if it means using up his personal time and finances.

"He's got a lot of skin in the game," said Joseph Reiley, Lane County Veterans Services Supervisor. "He will do whatever he needs to do to make sure that a veteran is able to access services, even if that means he goes to them and accesses them as apposed to having them come see us."

Shannon's goal is to make a veteran's story a little bit better.

One of those veterans, Tony Zarbano, served during the Vietnam War. Like many veterans, Zarbano didn't think he needed help.

Tony became Shannon's mission.

"I'd still be driving the car down the road, a piece of music would come on and I'd cry," said Zarbano. "Without Shannon's help, I would be not be doing well - all the other things that bother me would be bothering me more."

Unfortunately, not all of these stories have a happy ending like Tony's, but Shannon says it's stories like Tony's that keep him coming back every day to serve.

"I would hope at some point, that is what someone else would do if I was in that spot and needed help," said Shannon. "It's just the right thing to do."

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