Jess Johnson, left, and her friend Chloe LaChapelle visited Jess’s dad Andy Johnson at the University of Washington Medical Center last week. Photo courtesy of Don Johnson

Jess Johnson, left, and her friend Chloe LaChapelle visited Jess’s dad Andy Johnson at the University of Washington Medical Center last week. Photo courtesy of Don Johnson

By Laurelle Walsh

Friends, family, clients and customers of Twisp resident and former Java Man Espresso proprietor Andy Johnson are invited to a potluck dinner and benefit concert in his honor on Friday, Nov. 8, at the Methow Valley Community Center from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

“We want to get the word around to everyone,” said benefit organizer Karen Heenan. “We are hoping for a big turnout.”

The event includes dinner by the Burnt Finger Barbecue Company, which will be serving up barbecue ribs along with cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans. Guests are asked to bring potluck salads, side dishes or desserts to share.

The Methow Valley Ministerial Alliance will be providing beverages and the Eagles Auxiliary is contributing desserts.

Pastor Mike Lawson of Methow Valley United Methodist Church will be the evening’s master of ceremonies, with entertainment by Rob Thran (RT Junior) of the Last Outlaws, Horse Crazy’s Lauralee Northcott and Jennifer Epps, Emele Clothier and Don Goodman.

Donations to the Johnson family will be accepted at the benefit. “Our goal is to help them buy a handicapped van for Andy,” Heenan said.

Johnson sustained multiple injuries in a car accident on May 24 and has been rehabilitating in Spokane, and Post Falls, Idaho. His injuries resulted in paralysis from the chest down and have required multiple surgeries and interventions for complications.

Don Johnson reports that his son was moved to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle last week for surgery to correct a stenosis of the throat. The surgery “made all the difference in the world” to improve some of Andy’s breathing difficulties, his father said, and he will have a second operation later this week for a new tracheostomy tube.

Johnson will be returning to Spokane for a procedure on Nov. 11 to implant a device that will deliver medicine to control spasms in his legs, according to his mother, Karen Johnson. “It will make his life so much better,” she said.

Karen Johnson expects her son to return to the rehabilitation hospital in Post Falls after the operations.

In a CaringBridge journal update on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 27) Karen Johnson wrote, “We really don’t have any idea how long we will be here or even when Andy will be home; one thing at a time. He is watching a lot of football today and his spirits are good.”

CaringBridge journal updates may be read and personal messages sent to www.caringbridge.org/visit/andysjohnson.