Why We Give: Pat and Sharie Johnson
Pat and Sharie Johnson from Syracuse, Ind., describe themselves as “frugal, except when we are generous.” That frugality allowed the Johnsons to save up for a lucrative business investment that enabled them to elevate their generosity.
Since both had career backgrounds in the RV industry, Pat and Sharie teamed up with former colleagues in 2001 to create Noble Composites, based in Goshen, Ind. They enjoyed creating a completely new process to design fiberglass sidewalls for large motorhomes. “We really felt the Lord blessed that company,” says Sharie. When they sold the business in 2006 there was no question: they wanted to help charitable causes close to their heart.
One charity rose to the top of their list. Their oldest granddaughter, Hope, received lifesaving care at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health more than 30 years ago. Hope was a toddler when she was rushed to Riley with a dangerous complication from an e coli infection, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Thanks to the lifesaving care she received, today Hope is married with two children and leading a happy, healthy life. As Sharie explains, “We couldn’t imagine not giving back to Riley because it is local and because it saved our granddaughter. We are always hearing about children from our area who go to Riley. It is a Godsend.”
The passion for Riley has spread throughout the family. Another granddaughter, Ashley, now participates in Indiana University Dance Marathon. “Ashley is always saying “For The Kids – FTK,” says Pat. “When her feet hurt, she thinks about the kids who’ve been to Riley, and she just keeps going.”
Sharie says she and Pat consider it a privilege to give back to the hospital that gave their family so much. “We are not doing this for the recognition,” she says. “We feel so blessed and honored to have this opportunity to give back. But, if we can inspire someone else to give back by sharing our story, we are happy to do that.”