COCHRAN, GEORGIA: Johnny Blash III has had many obstacles in life that he has had to overcome from health to family to job, but yet, the 51-year-old married, father of three and grandfather, and law enforcement officer keeps on plugging.
One of the hardest hurdles he had to face that helped him be empathetic to others began five years ago when he went through losing a job, legal battles, gossip, learning the definition of accountability and trying to care for a very sick wife during it all. Though these were hard times for him, he relied on his faith in God and a strong will. “Sometimes life puts you in a situation where you either lie down, roll over and accept injustice or stand up and fight. I chose to fight, not only for myself but for others coming along behind me.” Johnny shared in an email interview with The Murphy Gazette.
It was this experience that led him to become aware of what others around him faced – in his career field and other places, and to share the message that any unfair treatment – be it bullying, gender bias, harassment or racism is wrong, as he stated, “from anyone on any level is not tolerable and there are consequences for it.”
For many years, he has served in law enforcement – as a member of a sheriff’s department and now through providing security at churches and working on a university level.
Johnny said, “I would like to think my career of public service chose me. My parents were foster parents for 25 years of public service.”
He added, “It is how they chose to give back to our community and surrounding communities. In the strangest of ways, I too wanted to give back. My desire was to remove the negative stereotypes of law enforcement by standing for what is just, fair and equal for all.”
” I appreciate the manner in which I was raised to believe I am no better than anyone else, love all people, respect all people and help all people,” Johnny said. He is a strong advocate to end any kind of prejudices against races, genders, social classes and more because of this foundation his parents set, and more importantly because of his Christian faith.
“The life of an officer is not always black and white. It’s not always about right and wrong. Many unseen challenges come with the uniform, shiny badge and nice car,” Johnny explained. “Decisions are made above your pay grade. Sometimes officers make decisions not because they want to, but because they have to put food on the table.”
He continued, “Dealing with victims of crimes and families of lost ones is difficult and painful, which means you carry your work home with you. So your job carries over into your personal life.”
Johnny believes that “teaching these things about the real ins and outs of law enforcement will give others a better understanding of why officers sometimes make the choices they make.”
“Working the night shift at a university is quite different from actively patrolling on the streets. We’re encouraged more so to help students pass their mistakes, avoiding criminal record whenever possible,” he stated.
Johnny offered advice for those wishing to enter law enforcement, ” Never ever accept mistreatment from anyone on any level. Find a way to right your injustice. Educate yourself on the law. Be prepared for the long haul.”
Another role in Johnny’s life that is important is he is a church minister. He co-ministers The Lighthouse Holiness Church Inc. along with his father. “My true sense of fulfillment and purpose comes from helping and being able to help others.”
A favorite quote of his seems to reflect the above thought. “ Gandhi said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’” That is relates also to the legacy he would like to leave for his children and grandchildren. Johnny would like to be known that he strove to “create a universe for universal peace.”
When asked what he thought everyone should do at sometime in their lives, he laughed, “Take a cruise.”
In reflecting on the definition of hope, he said, “Hope is defined by an unmovable and steadfast faith in God that no matter what life throws at me it’s going to work out in my favor somehow some way because He’s in control of every aspect of my life, which includes things seen and unseen.”
And that is the best way to end this good news story about the law enforcement officer who is a preacher, a devoted son, a dad and a grandpa.