Salinas Valley SP officer creates website to help victims of tragedies
By Don Chaddock, InsideCDCR editor
A Correctional Officer who pulled a woman from a burning car early this year is trying new ways to help the victim’s family as well as others.
Salinas Valley State Prison Officer Mike Johnson has developed a website to help raise funds for those who are facing difficult times after major incidents.
“As a direct result of the Feb. 1, 2015 accident when Rhea Nabua and Gloria McKee were seriously injured, I found the impact on myself to be life changing as well,” Officer Johnson said. “As a correctional officer, I serve and protect – that’s my job. But I am also a programmer with a degree in network administration and programming. In addition, prior to becoming a correctional officer, I was in corporate finance.”
Johnson said he put his old job skills to work and created GoFundCDCR.com, a site allowing state prison staff and their networks of families and friends to contribute to charitable causes.
“I have embarked upon a new path which combines my previous corporate finance and programming expertise with fund raising to benefit families and individuals who are injured and/or suffering illness,” he said. “My belief is that families … suffer when tragedies occur. I have seen this first hand. Not only physical injuries but the emotional impact on all family members can be huge.”
He said when factoring in additional expenses such a travel, food, lodging and medical costs, the financial hardships can be too much of a burden.
“I believe that together we can and should do what we can to help families financially and otherwise where possible in a time of crisis,” he said. “Support provided greatly improves upon the overall health and wellbeing of all family members – including children.”
He said he’s seeking non-profit charity status for the organization.
“GoFundCDCR will also reach out to CDCR employees as we add members to the … Board of Directors and Officers and encourage those interested in taking an active role to email me,” he said. “It is the intention to utilize public social media to enhance our image and seek donations from CDCR personnel and from the public. We are proud of our many heroes and the many very positive contributions made by CDCR.”
As for the two victims in the crash, Johnson said McKee suffered head trauma which is causing memory loss. Her daughter, Nabua, is in a long-term care facility and was still in a coma months after the crash. By June 2, her supporters said she was walking with the aid of a walker and was able to communicate by writing or mouthing words.
“Rhea has a long road of recovery ahead of her, but we are very optimistic,” her supporters wrote on her personal fundraising page.
McKee had previously been the victim of an armed robbery. Nabua and her stepfather, Greg Furey, had taken her mother to the Philippines as a sort of therapy to help her overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by the crime. They were returning from the airport when they were involved in the accident on Feb. 1. Furey suffered minor injuries in the crash.
“Mr. Furey told me the bank (in which McKee worked as a teller) was robbed at gunpoint in 2013,” Johnson said. “One of the robbers jumped over the counter where Gloria was working and stuck a gun in her back.”
(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)
Learn more about the effort at GoFundCDCR.com.
Reach Officer Johnson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the original story on the crash, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2015/02/correctional-officer-pulls-woman-from-burning-car/