By Paul Hubbard, MSW, President Comfort Adult Care Services
Special to The Truth
The Glass City Event Center Ballroom was the site for 500 invited guests to celebrate Billie Johnson’s retirement on June 22, 2223. Guests were from Toledo area as well as all over the state of Ohio and neighboring states. Ron Taylor President and CEO of Detroit Area Agency on Aging and Billie Johnson mentee was in attendance.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz was one of the first speakers and announced Toledo will rename Garden Lake Blvd, Billy Johnson Way, the first street to be named after a female, African American Woman.
Former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner gave Johnson a University of Michigan football signed by Coach Jim Harbaugh and all of the speakers praised Johnson for bringing care giving, food, health care, and recreational programs to senior citizens.
Johnson has been president of the Toledo Area Office on Aging for more than 49 years and has guided the organization’s growth from a mere four employees when she started to its current level of 185 employees and more than 2,000 volunteers
All the speakers noted Johnson has always been positive no matter how difficult the situation was. They also said Johnson never took no for an answer; she never gave up.
The speakers were both Democrats and Republicans because Johnson was able to work with both sides of the political aisle. Johnson has been highly respected by everyone and will be missed. I understand she may stay around as a consultant on some programs and work to bring the national PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program to the Toledo area.
Justin Moor, Johnson’s communications director, will serve as interim president and CEO, as a national search is conducted to find a successor.