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Dear Tom,

I could not have asked for a better husband, father, pastor and friend.  James embodies what it means to be unselfish and loving.

We moved from California to laurel, Mississippi in 2010 with our three children to help care for James’ aging grandmother, lovingly called Miss Eva, and to plant a church. while renovating an ugly eyesore in the heart of historic downtown Laurel that was an old Woolworth building that had sat vacant since hurricane Katrina which would become our church, James also took on the main responsibilities around his grandmother’s house and made sure she had groceries since her last sibling died in 2009.

After spending countless hours with contractors and meeting community members during the day, James would drive his grandmother to visit her friends or brings the kids by the house so she had company.  Even though I often told him to be careful not to burn the candle from both ends, James would make the drive out to the country to just check-in on her.  It was during one such “check-in” that Miss Eva suffered a stroke.  James called an ambulance and rode with her to the hospital.

Miss Eva did not suffer brain damage but at her age of 91, the stroke took its toll on her body. James sought out in-home care for Miss Eva four times a week, and she eventually regained strength in her arms and legs. This was all in the midst of our church launch and gratefully the church has grown and thrived.  It is one of only two multi-racial churches in our city and is continuing to minister to hundreds in our community.

Tom, I know my husband needs a break and i would like for him to be the next RFRM so he can do what he wants.

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REAL FATHERS REAL MEN: James Johnson-Hill  was originally published on

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