SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Dana Johnson’s life’s journey may have ended in an ICU in metro Atlanta, but it began in Savannah.
“We grew up together… in Garden City. We went to Groves High School together. I graduated a year before her; she would have been 50 this year,” said Johnson’s cousin, Sherri Gordon. She said Johnson attended Savannah State University before setting out to mold young minds in a classroom of her own.
Johnson was a teacher at Kemp Elementary School in Marietta when she became ill. Gordon says, “she was a person that would go out of the way to check on her students long after they left her; go visit them at their birthday parties or graduation.”
According to her family, Johnson was hospitalized on Dec. 6 with complications from COVID-19. The wife and mother of three boys had been on a ventilator in the ICU since Christmas Eve.
“She was just a very live, strong spirit, and most of all she was a lover of God,” Gordon said.
Like so many teachers required to return to the classroom during the pandemic, an underlying health issue made Johnson more vulnerable to COVID. Gordon says teachers, like her cousin, don’t get enough credit for the risks they take.
“You have no control over who comes in your presence that may have the virus. On top of that, you know, children, they can be asymptomatic and you don’t even know it, and that was her profession,” she said.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help Johnson’s family pay off her medical bills and funeral expenses. Their goal is to raise $50,000.