Retired Army Colonel Owns Awarding Winning BBQ Restaurant: Remembering Our Veterans
Our weekly series, Remembering our Veterans continues with the story of a business owner who is quite familiar with Erie.
A retired Colonel knows how to satisfy an Erie appetite. Before he started grilling, he faced some life-and-death situations on the battlefield. Rushing up the ribs is just part of what makes his national championship team traveling the country.
Colonel Dan Johnson owns Johnson BBQ, he spent 32 years in the U.S. Army. He was sent to Vietnam, wounded, and received a Purple Heart.
"I'm blessed," said Johnson. "I made it back. My wife's brother didn't make it back. So a lot of people ago don't make it back. So, I'm one of the fortunate ones. And I appreciate the ability to serve my country and stuff like that. I had a great career in the military, but I also went to war a couple of times."
He spent six months in Vietnam and is proud of his tour of duty representing the United States.
"It makes me so proud. I think one of the things we forget in America, everyone in all the world knows. The one thing that we forget in America how great this country really is. We take it for granted. We're born here. Everyone else can see it and they come over. We don't. And I'm very serious about that. Very serious. We've got the greatest country in the whole world," said Johnson. "Are we perfect? No. But I guarantee you, anything you want to be in America, you can become."
And every day he has a message for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"I want them to know that things are not handed to them," said Johnson. "Unfortunately, we're so blessed in this country we can do a lot for our kids, but it also handicaps our kids when we do that."
Johnson, originally from Arkansas, now owns five BBQ's in Virginia.
Colonel Johnson, thank you for your service.