Breakfast honors former Marine Samuel Johnson

Published 4:23 am Friday, November 10, 2023

For the first time, the Michael David Johnson Foundation’s annual Veterans Day Appreciation Breakfast was held without one of its founders.

Thursday’s program at ArtsRevive was dedicated to Samuel Johnson,  a retired U.S. Marine and Purple Heart recipient who passed away on Oct. 22.  Johnson’s family paid tribute to the veteran who served in the Vietnam War. 

Former NFL veteran Michael Johnson, who started the foundation in honor of his family, spoke passionately about his father. Michael Johnson played 10 years in the NFL and was a standout at Dallas County High School.

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“My father taught me how to do the right thing,” Michael Johnson said. “I always wanted to be a Marine like him. I started the foundation for my family. My father was always more outgoing. I’m more reserved.” 

Another memory of Johnson was shared by his younger brother, David Johnson. When Johnson’s father passed away, he left the Marines and quickly became a father figure to his other six siblings.

“Sam raised us the right way,” David Johnson said. “When people always said that I looked like Sam, I couldn’t wait to grow up and be good-looking like him. He did a great job raising his son Michael.”

Army veteran Jimmie Coleman III, who served as Master of Ceremonies, said Johnson was a devout military veteran.

“Anyone who knew Sam Johnson knows how much being a Marine meant to him,” Coleman said. 

The Gamma Alpha Alpha Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Selma City Schools were among the organizations that helped with the event.

State Rep. Prince Chestnut and Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Zickeyous Byrd also attended the event.