Johnnie Alexander Vietnam Veteran Paralyzed Veterans
I am truly blessed.
Johnnie Alexander Vietnam Veteran Paralyzed Veterans member lost both of his legs and had a spinal cord injury when he was hit by debris from a land mine, while serving in the Vietnam War in 1970. Having been “in country” for about six months (of his third tour), while on patrol, Johnnie was in the wrong place at the wrong time and found his life had changed forever. He spent the next 30 months in the hospital before getting out and another 30 months in and out of the hospital before being medically discharged from the Army in 1975.
Never being one to “let a little thing like having no legs and a spinal cord injury keep me from doing all I can do”
Johnnie went on to work at Disney as an engineer designing fiber optics and helped design the first fiber optic telephone system for Disney in Orlando. He also helped in redesigning and refitting Space Mountain and Big Thunder from their original design in California, for use in Florida. Later, Johnnie went to work for Martin Marietta as a designer engineer, helping design their military components.
Johnnie developed a passion for photography over the years and eventually opened his own photography business. He was contracted to be the surgical photographer at the Gainesville VA until they decided he could not do the job as an amputee.
Not one to be discouraged or defeated by his physical condition, Johnnie opened a grocery store and a Bible Book Store. Later, selling his stores, he began a ministry working with the homeless and the hungry in his community. He purchased a transfer truck and in partnership with Operation Blessing, drove the truck himself to pick up and distributed food to the needy in Ft. White, Florida (a small community about 50 miles south of the Georgia/Florida boarder) where he still lives today.
Athlete Johnnie Alexander Vietnam Veteran Paralyzed Veterans
Johnnie carries his passion and his drive with him as he travels (on land only, he drives everywhere he goes) across the country to adaptive sporting events. At nearly 72 years old, Johnnie competed at the 37th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Cincinnati, Ohio in late July.
This will be the 7th year that Johnnie will be participating in powerlifting, shot put, discus and javelin throwing, super G slalom, air gun and archery competitions. His love for competition drives him and if you are ever around him, be prepared for him to challenge you to some kind of strength and/or endurance competition. Last year in Salt Lake City, Utah he won seven medals.&
This father of five, grandfather of fourteen and great grandfather of three has never given up on life and continues to serve his fellow citizen. He is currently working on building a cottage on ten acres of his own land, for the purpose of providing housing to the homeless in Fort White.
“I am truly blessed” he says as his eyes light up talking about the many opportunities he has been given throughout his life.