Encouraging good health among co-workers is important.
Alabama Power Utility Fleet Master Technician Lance Johnson embraces a healthy lifestyle and inspires his community in a heroic way.
Johnson has worked for the company as a mechanic for 10 years, maintaining equipment in the Mobile Division.
“Managers, foremen and other employees are always praising his work,” said Garage Foreman Paxton Brunson. “He takes care of west Mobile and Bay Minette. He would be hard to replace.”
When he’s not servicing vehicles, Johnson enjoys running and traveling with his wife and two daughters. He’s participated in endurance events all over the country. He’s training to run a 100-mile race.
“It’s the best feeling to work for a company that supports me on the job and outside of work,” said Johnson. “Not only do they want you to take care of yourself at work, they offer programs through the Health and Well-being department for employees to invest in ourselves to make sure we’re healthy when we retire.”
Almost three years ago, Johnson met Julia Charles, who has autism and other medical issues. In 2016, she was connected to a community of runners who push people in racing wheelchairs. Over the years, the running team around her changed, so her parents began looking for a partner to keep her active. When she met Johnson, they clicked.
“I was a little tired after our first race together; the original chair was like a jogging stroller,” said Johnson. “We have a blast together.”
They have become an extension of each other’s family. Johnson’s children ride their bikes while Johnson and Charles work out together.
People have been encouraging as the Johnson-Charles team has become a staple in the running community.
She wanted to participate in the Boston Marathon to earn the coveted unicorn medal. Although the marathon has a wheelchair-assisted category, Charles’ condition would have made travel extremely difficult.
Getting in the race with a wheelchair seemed like an impossibility until the 2021 Boston Marathon added a virtual option to its in-person race. Johnson decided to train with Charles for the marathon, and they started putting plans in place and getting approval from race officials based on her medical status.
While practicing, Johnson asked his friend Brent Rawson, pastor of First Baptist Church of Satsuma, if they could use the church parking lot to practice. Rawson said, “Of course!” and recruited the congregation and children’s ministry to cheer Johnson and Charles for the race.
Members of the Satsuma fire and police departments and city officials joined the cheer team. What started as a couple of people turned into almost 100 supporting and watching Charles to the finish.
Charles was in her chair for nearly five hours for the Oct. 10, 2021 race. Johnson helped Charles accomplish something she couldn’t do on her own.
“The wind makes me free up my spirit,” said Charles. “Never give up on what you want to do.”