Pratt ag community comes together to help Johnson family with expenses

Hannah Brown
Pratt Tribune
Pratt Livestock employees recently put together a fundraising effort for Pratt County resident Paul Johnson, who had an accident November 17 that left him in need of surgery. Several ag businessmen bought and sold a steer at the sale barn, several times, to raise money for family expenses.

Paul Johnson, a long time Pratt-area resident, had an accident nearly six weeks ago on November 17 that led to brain surgery to alleviate swelling on his brain and stop the bleeding. Johnson is currently in Nebraska in a rehab facility. The Johnson family has lived in the area for many years and friends of the family have stepped up to take some financial pressure off Paul and his wife Jackie. Leading the effort is Christine Brenner. Christine and her husband Lowell recently donated a steer that was sold not once, but twice at the auction at Pratt Livestock. The special sale took place Thursday, December 17. 

“[Lowell’s] answer would be that Paul Johnson is a good person. He’s good to his core. And we feel like the world needs to reward people like that,” said Christine Brenner. “I agree with all of that but for me was that I relate with Jackie. I’m sure she’s overwhelmed and has got all kinds of things going through her mind and if we could just help in one area so they can concentrate on the medical part.” 

Brenner said she wants Paul’s family to be able to be with him as he recovers and not have to worry about travel expenses or other financial burdens that might arise during this journey. The Brenner’s know Paul through many things, but it started with their kids being in the same 4-H club. Now, the Brenners live close to the Johnsons, and Paul works at Pratt Livestock where Christine is the office manager and Lowell works on sale days. 

Although Christine and Lowell donated the steer, Christine noted that many, many people in the area have donated things to be auctioned or given a monetary donation. 

She organized an online auction on Facebook where she posts different items that people have donated and takes bids on those items. Many agriculture-related items have been donated such as hay bales, a stud fee, a photography session, eight hours of online tutoring, just to name a few. 

The benefit of this day and age is that the online auction can reach far and wide. Some members in the group say it has been years since they had been in contact with Paul Johnson but they were wanting to make a donation. The fundraising efforts continued so it is hard to get an accurate number of an amount raised. 

The steer the Brenner’s donated sold twice at Pratt Livestock and others added donations at the sale barn. 

“We’ve had several dollars worth of donations [added on to the sale of the steer], and people have contacted me and told me they would send donations in too,” said Christine. “As for a complete dollar amount, we aren’t there yet.”

Christine said that if others want to contribute, they may send monetary donations to Pratt Livestock, made out to the Paul Johnson Recovery Fund and she will make sure it will to the Johnson Family. This will help cover travel expenses as well as accommodations that need to be made at the Johnson’s house such as a ramp to make things more accessible. 

The Facebook auction can be found by searching Paul Johnson’s Recovery Benefit Auction. 

Christine Brenner said she wanted to give a special shout out to Steve Stratford, Roger Panek, Jake Lewis, Pratt Livestock staff, and anyone who has donated or bid on an item. It was a community coming together to help, that made those involved feel they were doing something right, especially at Christmas.