Meet June “Do the Right Thing” Winner: Johnny Jennings

RINGGOLD, Ga. (WDEF) — As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

It’s the case for one Ringgold man, who’s been collecting recyclables for more than 30 years, and donating the proceeds to Georgia children in need.

That’s why Johnny Jennings is this month’s Do the Right Thing winner.

Jennings has been collecting recycling since 1985.

“It’s just a joy to be able to do it,” he said.

Bags of paper, aluminum cans, and pennies have turned into $405,000 over the years – all of it donated to the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home.

“It does a lot of good, and saves 73,000 plus trees, saves the landfill, gives me exercise,” Jennings said.

The Marine Corps veteran was inspired to help the children’s home, after visiting when he was just 19 years old.

“We had a meal with them, and visited in the afternoon,” Jennings said. “When we went to leave, three little boys grabbed me by the knee and said, ‘Will you be my daddy?’ I said, ‘I will help all I can.'”

Jennings says he takes a load to a Chattanooga recycling center five days a week, but he can’t do it without the community’s help.

Most of what he collects comes from donations.

“That’s the highlight of my week is Thursdays, because I meet him at the post office, and help him load, and then we go back to my office and load,” said Shay Love, Jennings’ friend.

Love has known Jennings for several years, calling him a humble man, the last of a dying breed.

She says if we could all learn from Mr. Jennings, the world would be a better place.

“You can’t get him to sit down, even after having two mini strokes, we couldn’t get him to sit down,” Love said. “He’s our hometown hero is all I can say. He walks on water for a lot of us.”

And even though Jennings has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to helping children in need, all he asks for in return, is support.

“Pray for me as I keep on going,” he said. “I tell people that the undertaker will turn my toes up before I quit.”

If you’d like to help Jennings’ cause, there is a recycling bin at Caraustar Recycling on Central Avenue in Chattanooga.

Love says anyone can drop off items for Jennings. The center will weigh those recyclables at the end of the month, and send Jennings a check.

Categories: Do The Right Thing, Local News

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