Remarkable Women: Veteran pushes for legislation

Remarkable Women

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – AJ Johnson doesn’t shy away from helping others, especially the women and men who served our country.

It all started with a conversation.

“I was working at Wishard ambulance services as an EMT and one of my partners was an Air Force reservist, and he was talking about, ‘Oh, you’d be great in the Air Force,’” she recalled.

She joined the Air Force Reserve, first as a challenge to herself.

“I basically went in as to see if, you know, as a challenge to see if I could accomplish it. And when I got in, I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I was an athlete when I was in high school and one of the things that I enjoyed about being an athlete was that sense of camaraderie that you get from being a part of a team. And you get that in the military.”

AJ served for eight years. Once she left, she received a postcard from the American Legion inviting her to join. She wasn’t assigned to a post and almost let her membership lapse—but decided to attend the American Legion National Convention first.

“Sat in the general sessions and listened to what the American Legion does. The money that they raised, the causes that the champion education, child welfare, veterans, healthcare—I was extremely impressed.”

She joined Post 438, the only all-female American Legion post in Indiana. She’s since become an integral part—and one of her biggest accomplishments is working to get legislation for veterans to receive high school diplomas.

“That’s just a matter of identifying the mission and accomplishing it, though.”

The law allows veterans who had not graduated or received a diploma because they left high school for military service to obtain one. AJ says her tenacity helped get it passed.

“I learned a long time ago that it’s a whole lot easier to tell me to go to hell on the telephone than it is face to face,” she said.

Her work to improve the lives of veterans led Carol Sissom to nominate her as a Remarkable Woman.

“She’s extremely humble. She’s a go-getter. She’s passionate for what she does and she is. I think she’s just really powerful,” Sissom said.

AJ is humbled and overwhelmed by the nomination. She doesn’t consider herself particularly remarkable, but her work for veterans tells a different story.

“We accomplished the mission.”

You can learn more about Post 438 here.

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