Fresno, CA  – Larry Johanson, president and CEO at JTS (Johanson Transportation Service), celebrated his father’s 94th birthday by donating $2,000 to five charities, which were carefully selected by the Fresno corporate employees. His father, Richard Johanson, is the founder and chairman of the board of the company, a WWII veteran, and author. 

The philanthropic spirit is entwined into the fundamental values of JTS and has been, from the time Johanson founded the company in 1971, to the launch of their #JTSCares committee in 2018, which expanded financial giving into volunteerism.

“I wanted to commemorate my father’s birthday by demonstrating the values he has taught us all about being mindful and appreciating our blessings. I decided to surprise the staff at the birthday luncheon this week, by asking them to break into five groups and select five nonprofits they felt were important to support and pay it forward with these donations,” says Larry Johanson.

Staff members visited the following charitable organizations this week and hand-delivered the oversized checks to support their meaningful work: 

Break the Barriers is dedicated to accelerating awareness, understanding, acceptance and education for all people with various abilities, ethnicities and ages. Their programs create common experiences given through exceptional programs, outreach, and inclusion education. Programs range from sports and performing arts to education and recovery exercises for spinal issues. The nonprofit serves hundreds of students.

“This donation is just the start of a friendship with JTS. I will be in touch with them in the coming months to see how we can volunteer,” says Suzanna Oakley, JTS Carrier Relations coordinator.

Hinds Hospice operates in Fresno, Merced and Madera counties and has a professional staff of 190 with 300 volunteers. Their mission is to uphold the dignity and ease the suffering of the terminally ill, while supporting their loved ones, and those who are grieving a loved one. They also offer an extensive grief support program through the Center for Grief and Healing, specially-trained pediatric hospice and skilled nursing teams, a perinatal hospice and infant loss support program called "Angel Babies/Bebitos Angelitos", a formal physician education program, global outreach, and four thrift stores throughout the Central Valley.

Dee Dee Say felt strongly about giving to the hospice. “When I arrived, I explained to the director that our donation was given to honor Richard Johanson’s 94th birthday and that he gave each of our divisions a chance to donate on his behalf. I thought she was going to cry.  She said that it is rare that a company walks in the door and donates like this. Thank you for allowing me to take the check to them as I used this hospice for my own Mother.  I couldn’t have made it through those last weeks without them.”

Marjaree Mason Center supports and empowers adults and their children affected by domestic violence, while striving to prevent and end the cycle of abuse through education and advocacy. It is Fresno County's only dedicated, 24/7 provider of emergency and longer-term domestic violence shelter and support services, including education for victims and youth.

According to Judy Arke and Julie Anderson, who both work in corporate accounting, “Nicole DiBuduo Linder, the organization’s Director, was completely surprised and overjoyed with this Christmas gift. According to Nicole, they are over full capacity right now housing those in need. She said help couldn’t have come at a better time for them!”

Martin Park Ministry House is a nonprofit which provides a safe place for children and families in the downtown Lowell Neighborhood to repair brokenness, build the community, and provide a safe haven for others. Together they take field trips, expand their creativity and work on community development projects.

A check was presented by Joanna Salas and Marcie Andrade from the company’s non-perishable division. “How touching it was to see kids laughing, smiling and enjoying life. They were blown away and touched at the generosity of JTS,” said Andrade.  

Terry’s House, located directly across the street from Community Regional in downtown Fresno, is a home away from home for families of patients, including those from outside of the Central Valley who must be away from home for extended periods of time when a critically ill or injured patient in their family needs care. They provide a compassionate and supportive environment where families can eat, sleep and recharge while waiting to bring a loved one home.

Ashley Mendoza and Casie Loeffler from the company’s perishable division arrived to find Johanson Transportation Service listed on their Honors Circle wall. “We didn’t know Larry and Patti had donated in the past. They gave us a facility tour and let us choose where the money would go. We decided to split it between Terry’s house and their foundation that helps subsidize the cost of accommodations for those who cannot afford it,” says Loeffler.

Reactions ranged from tears to shock and surprise as employees presented the donations.  It was a unique and gratifying experience for the staff. Founder Richard Johanson describes it this way, saying, “You cannot give away kindness. It is always returned.”