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Community Involvement

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Generations of Community Involvement


Rotary International has a motto that reads "service above self." The Johnson family of Kirkland has applied it to life and the community for eighty-four years.


LeRoy E. Johnson donated the first drivers education car to Lake Washington High School in 1946.



Lee Johnson's life long passion for athletics began early. He played on the first Little League team in Kirkland.

The legacy of community commitment started with family patriarch LeRoy E. Johnson. As a charter member of Kirkland Rotary he assumed many roles including President. In 1946, LeRoy partnered with Lake Washington High School to provide training cars for the driver’s education program, and in 1951 was one of the men responsible for bringing Little League baseball to Kirkland, the first in Western Washington.

 


This bronze statue in Peter Kirkland Park was donated in celebration of 50 years of Little League.

Lee Johnson Jr. took what his father taught and improved upon it. His lifelong passion was in athletics. He played on Kirkland’s first Little League team, lettered in three sports at LWHS, and played baseball in college. It was natural for the dealership to sponsor baseball teams in Kirkland, from Little League through the Pony and Colt Leagues. "Dad loved his involvement with these teams both for the family history and his love of the game," remembers Tod Johnson. "He wanted to help kids in the community."


 

As an active Kirkland Rotarian he served as President, and loved the International Student Exchange Program. For years, dignitaries and Homecoming Royalty from local schools have waved from the back of convertibles provided by the dealership; from the classics to the newest models. "It was another great way to give back," says Brett Johnson. "Dad loved it."

Today, with Lee Johnson Chevrolet Mazda in Kirkland and Speedway Chevrolet in Monroe, it is evident that the importance of community involvement has passed to the third generation. Tod and Brett Johnson continue to support the things that were important to their elders. Both are members of Rotary; Brett joined Kirkland Rotary in February, and Tod will be President for the Monroe club starting in July. The dealerships still provide driver’s training cars and Homecoming vehicles for Lake Washington and Monroe school districts, and vehicles for parades in both communities. Some other charitable avenues include Equifriends, the Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock-up, The Angel Care Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon, the American Heart Association Heart Walk and the American Cancer Societies Relay for Life.

A sculpture of a young ball player watches over every game played at Peter Kirk Park in Kirkland. The family donated it in 2001, to celebrate fifty years of Little League. "The contributions of the Johnson family are unending and possibly unsurpassed," says family friend Bob Norman. "I look forward to seeing the tradition continue through the generations to come."


In December 2002, the entrace of Lake Washingotn High School was named "Lee Johnson Drive". Marketing teacher Ron Cooper initiated the gesture, "I knew we had to pay tribute to this great man," he recalls. "He did so much for us all."