DELTA — Santa is making a stop in Perrysburg on Saturday and needs some elves to help him wrap gifts.
Team Johnson of Delta becomes Team North Pole this time of year. Led by owner Brandon Johnson, the company does several fundraisers and fun events for the needy.
“Ever since I’ve been in business, I’ve always done something special for Christmas,” Johnson said. “Last year, I did a foster home and it was super awesome.
“It just makes me happy to see kids smile at Christmas.”
This year’s main event, called the 2nd Annual Holiday Giveback, is giving gifts to the 70 children at Family House in Toledo. It is a non-profit organization that provides homeless families in crisis with emergency housing and social service opportunities.
Presents for the children will be wrapped on Saturday at Mavillino Custom Home Builders, 25664 Dixie Hwy. in Perrysburg, starting at noon. Gifts can also be dropped off there.
Delivery date to the Family House is Wednesday. In addition to the presents, the children will be treated to a dinner with Santa and to a ride in one of Team Johnson’s custom limousines, which include a trolley and double-decker bus.
The company is also involved with a benefit for Greg Reed, a Swanton man who suffered a spinal injury while working on his garage in September. Johnson hopes to raise enough money to get Christmas gifts for Reed’s three children, buy him a new vehicle and install a ramp at his home.
Johnson has also helped his company’s general manager, whose 3-year-old niece has cerebral palsy and is in line for a surgery that could help her walk.
He started his business with one dump truck for rent in 1999. In addition to the rental, Johnson said he worked his tail off, logging 110 hours a week removing asbestos to pay for college. He got his business management degree at Owens Community College and expected to get a 9-5 job.
He couldn’t find a job.
So, Johnson bought another dump truck, and another.
“I got all the way up to 92 dump trucks,” he said.
That was five years ago. Then he started looking at other vehicles.
“I always wanted to have a limo to take clients out … and my sister was getting married.”
After he purchased the limo, he put it out for rent on Facebook and it was booked immediately. When Johnson was ready to expand, he looked for the most unusual vehicles that he could find.
There’s a stretch Hummer with a patio and the double-decker bus with TVs, a bar and a bathroom that seats 70. Next up is a vehicle with a spa.
The giving spirit was instilled by his mom, Becky, while growing up in Swanton. His father-in-law, Gar Tussing, also impressed upon him the reason for the season. He died last year.
“He just loved Christmas,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s business is based in Delta and has 80 employees. He and his wife, Stefanie, who is a nurse, have four children, ages 13, 12, 10 and 8, and live in Deshler.
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Johnson said he does not mind personal calls at 419-392-8416 regarding the fundraisers.
Debbie Rogers is the editor of the Sentinel-Tribune, an AIM Media Midwest newspaper.