RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – It has been well over a year since Chesterfield business owner Debbie Johnston appeared on ABC’s Secret Millionaire show. She flew from Richmond, Virginia to Richmond, California to donate her time and money to help a city riddled with crime, poverty and gang violence. Next week Johnston is going back for a very special honor.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Debbie Johnston gave Reach Fellowship International $70,000. It was a gift to help it keep on giving.
“They are the group that help women who lost their way who’ve been incarcerated who don’t have jobs to find their way,” Johnston, the Care Advantage CEO, says of Reach.
Since Johnston’s time in California, the organization opened a transitional home for the women it serves. On December 17 it will name a wing in her honor.
“This wing is going to be for people women that are trying to get their children back,” explains Johnston. “Children getting back with their mother.”
It is the greatest way Reach could say thanks because the issue is so close to Johnston’s heart. As Virginia’s Adoption Champion, she has spoken with dozens of foster children who just want their moms. They’ve taught Johnston the importance of building families for building communities, like the one she was so moved by in the Bay Area.
“That neighborhood needs so much help,” Johnson says about Richmond, California. “It was difficult for me to leave it. I felt really torn when I left it like should I stay here and help them should I go home. I know i’m going to feel that pull again.”
Her name will be on the wing, but Johnston says it is the women passing through who will leave a legacy. Memories were made and lives were changed by a stranger who became their biggest supporter.
“I’m really excited to see those people again,” Johnston says with a smile.
She will also visit other charities she worked with during the Secret Millionaire taping to see how they are doing.