Editor’s Note: This is the first article in Competition Plus’ “GOOD NEWS!” feature. Readers can help us keep our eyes open for positive stories in the drag-racing world. We’ll stay on the lookout, too. After all, everybody likes to read something pleasant and uplifting in the news at least once in awhile!

Johnna Dunn has seen plenty of drag-racing trophies in her family’s homes. She happens to have a few of her own that have nothing to do with the sport.

She has nearly a dozen of them in her own “wall of fame,” citizenship awards she has received from elementary school through junior-high school. She added another one March 22.

Dunn is the first recipient of the specially established Compassion Award that was presented during the annual Values in Action Awards Celebration luncheon at Fullerton, Calif.’s St. Jude Medical Center, where she works as a Patient Transporter.

“Johnna is a frequent visitor to the hospital chapel, where she stops by every days as she leaves the hospital to offer prayers for those patients whom she helped that day,” the ceremony brochure said of Dunn.

“On one occasion, she was transporting a patient, who was accompanied by her friend, from the Cath Lab to CT for a scan. The patient was anxious, and Johnna let her know she was not alone and gave her a warm blanket. The patient shred that she and her friend have relied on each other for many years and are actually more like sisters than best friends. Throughout her battle with cancer, the patient said she had always relied on God, and Johnna asked if she had ever seen our hospital chapel. Since she couldn’t go there herself, the patient asked Johnna to describe the chapel so she could visualize it in her mind. She closed her eyes and relaxed as Johnna described the stained glass, padded pews, candles, and beautiful crucifix. Before going in for the procedure, her friend asked if she could see the patient again briefly and asked Johnna to join them in prayer. After the visit, Johnna escorted her friend to the waiting area but noticed that she was overwhelmed with emotion. Johnna asked her if she would like to see our chapel, and they both went there together. They prayed and lit a candle for the patient. Johnna told her she should stay as long as she liked.

“When Johnna sees a need, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual, she will go out of her way to respond,” the message continued. “She is very deserving of our first-ever award for the value of Compassion.”

Her polite manner has not gone unnoticed. The blub about Dunn also said, “She has a gentle manner and generous spirit [and] brings a smile to everyone she encounters. Upon meeting Johnna, you might assume she grew up in one of the Southern states, as she speaks with a bit of drawl and her conversation frequently includes “y’all,” “yes ma’am,” and “no, sir.” However, Johnna was born and raised in Long Beach, but it is that spirit of Southern hospitality that has endeared her to many of our patients and visitors.”

The plaque Dunn received was inscribed with this message: “St. Jude Medical Center hereby recognizes Johnna Dunn for exemplifying a commitment to Compassion. Jesus taught and healed with compassion for all. Matthew 4:24.” 

Her father, Jon Dunn, and grandparents Jim and Diane Dunn were on hand for the ceremony. It was a bit of an early birthday gift for “Big Jim” Dunn, who owns the Funny Car they all work on in NHRA competition and turned 85 years old Thursday, March 28. It was also was a refreshing bit of positive news for Dunn, the clutch specialist on the Funny Car that Jim Campbell drives. She is recovering from a starting line incident at the Phoenix event that left her with a broken nose and facial bruises. 

Johnna Dunn and her family will be back at the racetrack at the April 5-7 Denso Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.





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