July 8, 2022 at 1:11 p.m.
This week, Rusty Johnson again has a grateful community celebrating his multiple contributions.
A fun fact is that one of Rusty’s grandfathers was named Carl Oscar Johnson. And, it wasn’t so long ago when his dad, Russ, was Karl Oskar Days Grand Marshal. Dad owned the Phillips 66 station which he closed in ‘96 and sold to Lindstrom to be torn down for the municipal liquor store. Russ also was with the fire department and provided the towing services in this area. Dad served as Karl Oskar Days Grand Marshal in 1997.
Rusty has already spent time pondering the fact that he’ll be in the lead car in Saturday’s parade.
The parade route, he muses over coffee, travels right through his childhood Oak Street neighborhood. He expects to be a little emotional when he rolls past properties where, well over 50 years ago, he played as a kid.
He attributes those people surrounding him then in the early days, and the friends and family he’s been lucky to know throughout his life, for being influential forces. Then came his years in Boy Scouting, which gave him skills, landing him a job in scout camp in summers. He worked at the Phillips 66 when he was back home, oftentimes with his brother Rick.
Rusty earned Scouting’s Eagle fixing up the Lindstrom fire hydrants and updating the map of hydrant locations. He also earned a Boy Scout District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award.
“You get out of anything what you put into it,” is his motto.
But, what he really got out of scouts was what inspired him to get into the Lindstrom city parks program, a fulfilling activity if there ever was one.
Rusty also thanks a terrific family at Plastic Products that kept him here for 22 years. He was the first ever recipient of an award the company owner decided to give out, to recognize and promote volunteerism.
One of his favorite things though, has to be the Harmony in the Park coordinator post. He’s been lining up music and the featured organizations for the Lions Park outdoor concert nights for years. Talking with the Press at the Swedish Inn, breakfast diners passed by the table and slapped him on the back —good show last night, really enjoyed it, they told him. (He hears the complaints too but won’t dwell on those.)
Johnson sees the Harmony in the Park event as much more than what it appears on its surface. Obviously, it brings people into town to eat and shop, they meet and socialize, vendors get an extra outlet for their food and wares; but Harmony events also highlight local organizations such as the Christian schools who promoted their facilities just recently. Underpinning the surface goodwill and fairlike atmosphere of the Wednesday nights at Lions Park, Rusty confesses it’s the energy of the community that has been his motivation.
“I read the names of the business sponsors during every show.” he explains. He is humbled by donors’ generosity and for him, personally, that alone feels like a reward.
Yes, you do get out of it what you put in.