By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Walter Johnson of Delano is always constructing something whether it’s doing metalwork for his 1975 Porsche or building relationships with friends and family.
Last week, he started a new job at the Caterpillar plant in Brooklyn Park, a company that makes construction and mining equipment, engines, and other manufactured items.
“I like building things,” Johnson said. “I like working with metal.”
Johnson, who grew up in Plymouth, went to technical college to become a licensed aircraft mechanic. After working in that industry for a while, he was attracted to construction and carpentry work.
“I fell in love with the construction industry,” said Johnson, who went on to become second in command at a remodeling company.
“I like to design and manage jobs,” he said.
When the owner of the company passed away, Johnson switched his line of work, and became an armed security officer.
“I’m a jack of all trades,” he said.
One of Johnson’s security jobs was escorting Center Point Energy crews in North Minneapolis. He made sure they were safe when they did gas turn-offs for people who didn’t pay their bills.
“In rough neighborhoods, you never know what you’re going to encounter,” Johnson said.
Thankfully, he never ran into much trouble.
The scariest situation he remembers was when a pit bull almost jumped a fence trying to attack him. He had to draw his weapon, but the animal never made it over the fence.
“That’s the most action I ever really saw,” Johnson said.
Johnson also did unarmed security work for the Minneapolis City Center.
Although he isn’t a full-time security officer anymore, Johnson is still serving in that area. In January, Johnson will celebrate his sixth year as a reserve police officer with Wright Hennepin Public Safety.
Johnson’s wife, Naomi, has been a benefits administrator for Archway Marketing in Rogers for more than 10 years.
Their two children, Nathan and Sarah, attend Delano Elementary School.
Nathan, 10, is interested in video games, and plays baseball in the summer. Sarah, 7, loves to do arts and crafts projects.
“Sarah’s just gotten into Girl Scouts,” Johnson added.
Johnson, who has a friend serving in Iraq, suggested to Sarah and Nathan’s teachers that the children make Christmas cards for the soldiers. Between the two classrooms, they sent about 70 cards.
Johnson and his family like to spend time together at home, and also try to take a family vacation each year. Last spring, they went to Disney World, and the year before, they took a trip to the Black Hills.
In his spare time, Johnson enjoys working on his Porsche, which he’s had for several years.
He’ said he’ll continue to work on the car until he finishes it or sells it.
In the past, Johnson has also been involved with the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).
“I’ve tinkered in their shops,” he said.
Johnson’s main pride in life is his family, however.
“As long as we got our family, that’s what counts,” he said.
As a politically conservative person, Johnson said he is concerned about the future of America, and he hopes that the country won’t continue on its current course.
In the meantime, Johnson said plans to keep “finding joy in everyday life.”