Gays Mills, Wisconsin (WXOW) ----- The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious honor that recognizes people in our community who go above and beyond to help others. This month's winner is Robert Johnson a man from the Kickapoo Valley who has taught generations of families how to play it safe in the great outdoors.
His youngest student is 8 and the oldest 80 but no matter the age Robert Johnson is the one to teach them. "It's just the satisfaction of meeting people that I haven't seen in 30 or 40 years. "They know me but I'm not sure I know them." Over the past 50 years Robert has taught more than a thousand people in the Kickapoo Valley about hunter safety. "It's just something for me to do because I enjoy all these things and I liked doing them when I was younger and I'd like to see it carried."
Robert retired 10 years ago for barely 2 weeks. "I was Boy Scout leader for 15 years, I was a Fire Chief for years. I was the president of the Kickapoo Valley Association for years and I worked with the Stewardship Valley Network and Trout Unlimited and was on the board of directors of Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
And despite all his volunteer work he has a full time job at Hillcrest Orchard. "I don't know, it's just gratifying." Robert says do whatever you love but do something. "I know I've volunteered with people who've never volunteered for nothing in their life. Their missing out a lot I think."
Robert was on public TV's "Lure of the Kickapoo" a video that portrays the beauty of the area running from Tomah to Prairie du Chien. He's also been featured in 9 national farm magazines.