Donor Spotlight: Robert Johnson Builds Hope in the Lives of Children

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson builds hope in the lives of children with his own two hands. Since 2016, he has hand-crafted tables and chairs for Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics patients. To date, he’s delivered nearly sets of 150 tables and chairs to Mercy.

What started in 2012 as a hobby has developed into a labor of love. The truck dealership chief financial officer spends around 14 hours building each set. They are constructed from Western Red Cedar shipped from Washington state to Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber Company, where the business allows him to hand-pick the 12-foot pieces before they are cut and crafted into furniture for the young patients.

A thick coat of vibrant, glossy paint plus several coats of urethane help make the pieces both fun and durable. Johnson’s craftsmanship is so meticulous that his reputation has spread, and he has personally delivered furniture to little patients around the nation, including those in Florida and Texas. Johnson never expects anything in return. Knowing that the kids and families appreciate the furniture makes it all worthwhile for him, he says.

“The people who really deserve the credit are the (Mercy pediatric social worker) Jan Mackeys of the world who take care of these kids and the brilliant doctors that do the surgery. I’m just doing a small part,” Johnson said.

The “coolest” part of the process for him is that each Christmas, he receives a card from the doctors and nurses, he says.

“When you take a chair and table to the patients, it makes their stay at the hospital a lot less painful, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Do you have a special talent or gift that you would like to share with Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics patients? Please contact Sophia S. Ahmad at sahmad@mercydesmoines.org.

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