UNT Dallas veteran Rob Johnson, who served in the Marines until 1993, continues to serve his country and those in military families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price.
Johnson, founder of a Dallas group called Veterans for Christ, visits the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery each year on Memorial Day. He brings 50 white roses to the cemetery and passes them out to grieving family members. Johnson said four of his own fellow Marines are buried here. He started the tradition after his friend, "a Navy man," Johnson said, lost his fight while waiting for a kidney transplant. Johnson and his friend had made a pact to begin visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day.
When he passed away, Johnson said it devastated the man's wife, and Johnson vowed to carry through their plan, and he has never quit.
"I'm going to do this the rest of my life," said Johnson, a non-traditional student at UNT Dallas, who is on pace to graduate next May with a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. "I see the families and it hurts me, too. I know how it feels. It feels good when somone says, 'I'm going through this with you.'"
This year, while handing out white roses to those he felt needed them most, Johnson was approached by a man who asked him what he was doing. The man happened to be Dallas Morning News reporter Charles Scudder.
Johnnson told Scudder his story, and appeared in his article on dallasnews.com. You can read the entire story here.
"When I did Memorial Day this time, people said to me, we love what you're doing," Johnson said. "They said you're doing it because you actually care."