Paula Johnson is a leader—when she’s given a task, she works tirelessly to complete it. In the ND Air National Guard, she was a Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. She was also the first woman promoted to ND State Command Chief. At Dilworth Lutheran, Paula took the lead in our popular Annual Fall Dinner Festival from its beginning, and has served on our Stewardship and Evangelism Committees, on the Church Council, and, for the last 5 years, Paula has volunteered at the New Life Center Thrift Store.
Paula’s love for leadership goes way back. When she was in high school at Ulen/Hitterdal, her senior class motto was “Take the world as you find it, but leave it better.” She has aspired to live by that motto in everything she does. Her greatest inspiration, however, was her mom, Gert Johnson whose love, faith, and faithfulness kept her family going through some very difficult times. Paula recalled how her dad left her mom with 3 small children. “I was only 5 years old with 2 younger siblings,” she said. Her mom worked full time while raising her family and supporting all their activities. As she grew up, Paula’s relationship with her father was strained. It did not get easier as an adult. “I did not want to reconcile with my biological dad,” Paula recalled. The church’s emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation, however, changed her heart. “One day God spoke clearly to me, ‘Honor your father and mother.’ I didn’t want to, but I did.” God blessed that decision, bringing healing and many blessings into her life.
Today Paula will tell you that faith, family and country are all very close to her heart. Along with the values of sacrifice and serving others, Paula finds these virtues nurtured at Dilworth Lutheran Church. This faith has bore fruit in her life. Paula was recently honored with her picture on the cover of the magazine AW (Area Woman). In an article entitled “Determined, Dedicated, and Decorated” Paula says, “My faith has helped ground me, and it’s also given me wisdom to face uncertain situations. It’s important to generously serve others without losing yourself. I’m reminded that I need to think about God not just when I’m sad, but to connect with Him to do the right things. It’s a guarantee that all of us will eventually mess things up when we try to do things on our own. We need God’s help to direct our steps.”