Deputy exhibits endurance in good, bad times
Mar 27, 2016 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer
Photo by LARRY HARDY, T&D
Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ronald Johnson is this month’s Community of Character honoree for endurance.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”—Colossians 3:23.
Deputy Ronald Johnson of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office could use that Bible verse as his testimony of service and sacrifice.
The Elloree resident sustained a back injury that required surgery a year ago. His back still causes the 45-year-old pain from time to time, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from his willingness to work in any capacity in which he is called to perform.
With a friendly demeanor and soothingly pleasant attitude, Johnson solves problems he encounters with unruly or belligerent people with poise. He realizes he may have to step away from light office work and work a little harder on some days, but he perseveres with professionalism.
Johnson’s ability to press ahead with his work despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions has earned him the designation as the exemplification of endurance for the month of March as part of Orangeburg County’s Community of Character initiative.
The law enforcement veteran was caught off guard by the honor.
“I was amazed and really shocked by it. I wasn’t looking for that. I just think that I do my job. I love to do my job, and I want to treat people the way I want to be treated,” Johnson said.
“I’m a firm believer that when you do the right thing and you treat people the right way, then God will reward you openly,” he said.
Johnson has been a deputy with the OCSO since July 2013, but his law enforcement career spans more than a decade. He started his career in 1998 as an officer with the Holly Hill Police Department.
What led him into law enforcement?
“I saw kids of different creeds and colors — white, black and Hispanic — going the wrong way. I said, ‘If I can reach one of them, maybe I can reach a whole community.’ My job is now to make sure that they end up doing the right thing and try to save them from destruction,” Johnson said. “If I can only reach one, then maybe that one can go reach somebody else.”
Endurance means being able to withstand trials and adversity, he said.
“I had back surgery on March 23, 2015. I had one-day surgery and stayed out of work for about six weeks, but I was ready to come back in two weeks. I call that endurance because I love what I do. I love helping and encouraging people,” Johnson said, noting that following doctor’s orders was not easy and that he was “always around the house doing something.”
When he returned to the Sheriff’s Office, he started working in the civil division.
“The civil division wasn’t too bad. I just go out there and serve summons and complaint papers. I work in different capacities. I started at the courthouse first in Family Court. I made sure that order was in the courtroom,” said Johnson, who is looking forward to being transferred to the Central Region Magistrate Office at 1540 Ellis Ave. in Orangeburg to provide security there.
He said he is not going to let his occasional back pain sideline him.
“I have good days and I have bad days, but I just keep going just like the Energizer Bunny. I don’t ever let it get me down. I’m just a hardworking young man, and I love what I do,” said Johnson, who also didn’t let failing his police academy training three times deter him.
“I’m not ashamed of it because I want to encourage someone. I failed the academy three times, but I did not give up on my dream and finally made it,” he said.
Johnson said this quest to become a pastor also met with failure.
“I know God had called me to be a pastor so I thank God for allowing me to start my own ministry,” he said.
Johnson is pastor of Faith and Victory Outreach Ministry in Santee.
He said he appreciates being able to endure through life’s adversities and always tries to practice the Golden Rule in dealing with others.
“The Bible says a soft answer turns away wrath. So sometimes you don’t need to get loud because another person is being loud,” Johnson said. “Just give them a soft answer, and God’s word will work every time.”
He said he gets the strength to endure life’s challenges from his loving grandmother, who passed away two years ago.
“My grandmamma raised me. I thank God for my mom and dad, too, but my grandma always told me, ‘Son, you can become anything you want to become. Always keep yourself humble and never give up on your dream.’ She would always encourage me,” Johnson said. “My mother is also an evangelist and she always encouraged me, too.”
The support of his dedicated wife, Jacqueline, his three children, Deandra, Brianna and Brian, and his two grandsons has also meant a lot to Johnson.
“My wife gives me strength. She says, ‘I know you love your job, I know you love the Lord and I know you love me and helping people.’ You have to make sure you put God first, your family second and your job third. If you do that, then everything will fall in line,’” he said.
“I always teach my children that respect will carry you a longer way than money. I tell them to always treat people with respect, don’t take nothing that don’t belong to you and always put God first,” Johnson said.
The deputy also praised the OCCOC initiative for its efforts to spread good character throughout the community.
“I think it’s an excellent program. They should never get rid of that program because it may encourage somebody else to do all they can to become the best they can be,” he said. “You never know who’s watching you.”