Honoring a Local HeroAug 10th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: community
Hurricane Katrina has brought some of America’s finest to Plaquemines Parish to assist in the recovery efforts. Even now with the oil spill, people from all across the United States are doing their part to help Plaquemines Parish. We often overlook the work of those local community leaders who have been involved in the recovery efforts for many years.
Bishop Wilfret Johnson, pastor of Oakville Missionary Baptist Church and a native of Plaquemines Parish, is one such local hero. His father was also a pastor of the same church. In fact, Bishop Johnson’s great-grandfather was the founder of the Oakville community. Bishop Johnson has always been an advocate for the community and Plaquemines Parish, but he felt a greater calling after Hurricane Katrina.
Bishop Johnson was determined to not only assist his community, but to reach out to the other ministers whose churches, homes and congregations had been destroyed. He began his mission by developing Churches Helping Churches, an outreach ministry which assists faith based organizations to apply for grants and other funding to rebuild their churches. He began attending recover meetings throughout the Greater New Orleans area, networking with government officials and meeting with federal government agencies to learn more about the recovery process and the resources available.
This path led him to the Committee for Plaquemines Recovery (CPR), a non-profit organization whose membership includes local community leaders, non-profit agencies and faith based organizations. Bishop Johnson was drawn to its mission of assisting the residents whose needs could not be met with other resources. In 2006, he became extremely active as a member of CPR and was quickly voted president of the organization.
During his tenure, Bishop Johnson assisted in the development of the CPR rebuilding initiative, which rebuilds and repairs homes on the east and west banks of the parish. This program assisted over 150 families and included the purchase of mobile homes. He coordinated the “Plaquemines Parish Gives Thanks: Thanksgiving Dinner” at Pointe Celeste in 2006, which fed over 600 Plaquemines Parish residents. He assisted in the “Plaquemines Business is Rising on the River Egg-stravaganza”, which showcased locally owned businesses. He was called upon by the FEMA’s Voluntary Agencies Department to encourage residents of the Diamond FEMA Trailer Park to evacuate for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike- even giving money to those who needed assistance with evacuating.
Bishop Johnson’s services extend beyond Plaquemines Parish into Cameroon, Africa. He has been a missionary to that country for 14 years. He is the co-organizer of the Harvest Children Home, an orphanage built in 2004. Known to the Kom Tribe as Wain Bobe Aboh, Bishop Johnson was donated land by the tribe’s chief in which he built a medical facility in 2007. This facility is known as the Yuh Johnson Medical facility.
On June 8, CPR honored Bishop Johnson at their monthly meeting. He was presented an appreciation plaque by CPR’s new president Benny Puckett and CPR’s vice president Steve Bledsoe. He remains active as an at large member of the executive board and continues his outreach to other ministers during this oil spill crisis.