On a Thursday morning in October 2018, Micah Johnson was headed to the doctor for an ear infection. He was traveling on a gravel road near his farm in Kenyon, Minnesota, south of Minneapolis, when his car was t-boned, which sent him and his car into a cornfield (he was wearing his seatbelt).
After the arrival of emergency vehicles, Micah was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. He had emergency surgery to remove his spleen and right lung. Many people began praying for Micah and his family.
Micah Johnson is an amazing athlete – a leader on the football, basketball and baseball teams at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School in Minnesota.
Micah attended elementary school and the early part of high school in Houston, Minnesota. His family moved to a farmstead in Kenyon, (about 100 miles from Houston) during the winter of his sophomore season.
When the accident occurred, the community of Houston rallied with fundraisers and prayers, as the Johnson family had a big impact on the little town of Houston. Micah has 12 siblings, so many people in the community were friends with one of Micah’s brothers or sisters.
The communities of Kenyon and Wanamingo rallied with meals, fundraisers and prayers. T-shirts and bracelets were sold in both towns and, through Facebook, people became friends without even meeting.
Micah continued to fight and was making progress. The doctors and family were still unsure if he had a brain injury. When he awoke, everyone was astonished when Micah asked if he had to do chores! He then was asked how many siblings he had, and he answered with his normal statement of “too many.” Those in the hospital room chuckled with laughter as they knew Micah was back.
As if it had been planned, Kenyon-Wanamingo High School and Houston High School had boys and girls games scheduled for the end of January. As Micah continued to recover and was able to be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the planning started.
The plan was for both towns to hold a “Dash for Cash for Micah” during halftime since the girls and boys were playing at opposite sites. Three minutes were going to be on the clock, and students would run through the crowds with pillowcases to collect money for Micah’s continued recovery.
However, Mother Nature had different plans. Minnesota winter hit with a vengeance and the games were postponed. Since it was the near the end of the season, the girls game could not be rescheduled; however, the boys game was scheduled for a Saturday night in February.
Micah was able to come to Houston with his family for the February game. Signs adorned the gym with #micahstrong. People were wearing their #micahstrong bracelets and t-shirts. The Houston team had warmups in Kenyon-Wanamingo colors that said #micahstrong on the front and Micah’s No. 25 on the back.
Both teams broke through signs to enter the gym. Kenyon-Wanamingo went first with Micah leading them in a team walk. The announcer proclaimed: “Here are the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights led by Micah Johnson” with the Star Wars theme song playing in the background. The crowd went wild! Kenyon-Wanamingo then stopped to let the Houston team run through for warmups.
At halftime, the Dash for Cash was a huge success. There also was a halftime shootout for a dollar a try, and 111 people participated in that event. Between the two events, the Houston fans and the visiting Kenyon-Wanamingo fans raised $2,410.85.
After the game, the Houston team gave Micah a t-shirt that said, “Once a Hurricane, always a Hurricane.” There were many tears of joy throughout the night. People lingered long after the game to visit and reconnect with each other. Micah visited with his old teammates. It was a true night of compassion as the teams played for something more – more than a game – they played for their friend.
The Kenyon-Wanamingo girls team held its Dash for Cash at another game, and both communities are pledged to continue their support for Micah.
Micah Johnson will need more surgeries to gain some use of his right arm, but on Senior Night in Kenyon, the LeRoy-Ostrander Cardinals allowed him to have the ball given to him, and then gave him space to score a basket! It took a few tries, but he got his name in the box score.
Amazing things are ahead for Micah Johnson.
Lisa Myran-Schutte, CAA, is activities director of the Houston Public Schools in Houston, Minnesota, and she is a member of the High School Today Publications Committee.