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Aledo Times Record - Aledo, IL
  • Merle Johnson honored by Mercer County Sheriff's Department

  • "On behalf of the Sheriff's Department we wanted to show Merle how much we appreciate him, what he's done for the Sheriff's Department, all the inmates and even the employees." said Sheriff Glancey as he presented Merle Johnson's two daughters with a plaque on Friday, Jan. 10, in recognition of his nearly four decades of dedicated volunteer ministry service to the inmates and staff at the Mercer County jail.
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  • "On behalf of the Sheriff's Department we wanted to show Merle how much we appreciate him, what he's done for the Sheriff's Department, all the inmates and even the employees." said Sheriff Glancey as he presented Merle Johnson's two daughters with a plaque on Friday, Jan. 10, in recognition of his nearly four decades of dedicated volunteer ministry service to the inmates and staff at the Mercer County jail. He faithfully provided Sunday church services and would often come on Wednesdays as well. Daughter Lori Johnson, a nurse, takes care of him at home now.
     
    After the ceremony the group shared fond memories as they remembered Merle's love and devotion evident in the lives of those he touched. The kindness he showed toward the inmates changed countless lives. "We don't know how many changed lives (there are) because of what he did, but we do know of several," Rose Bodeen smiles as she recalls those they are still in contact with who would credit Merle as the vehicle through which God changed their lives.
     
    "The world needs to know there's people like that," says Chief Deputy Jeff Dale. He remembered how well respected Merle was among the inmates. If an inmate would cause a problem during one of Merle's church services, other inmates would step in and stop unruly behavior. "They policed themselves," described Dale. In the time he volunteered at the jail he served under four sheriffs, Lorenzo (Bud) Rausch, Marvin Thirtyacre, Larry Glancey, and most recently Thomas Thompson.
     
    Though our language is limited, they were able to briefly show a glimpse into the devotion and love this man exuded toward all people. Listening to them describe his compassion would cause one to wish they had known him personally in his heyday.
     
    Johnson was born in 1921 and began his service to the jail in 1976. He regretfully had to end his work, recently, at the Mercer County jail due to his failing health.
     
    Story Expanded in the next edition of The Times Record.

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