Article and Photography by LISA MACNEIL
Nellie Johnston of Brooksville turned 99 Nov. 2, 2019, surrounded by friends and colleagues of The Enrichment Center, where she’s volunteered for several years. She became a member in 2015.
Originally from Alabama near Dothan, Nellie was also active in the local Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization. “I was Commander for many years. I came all the way up through the Chairs, then I was Commander, then just a member, then Commander again!”
Nellie said between dozens of friends bringing birthday greetings, “It’s been so long ago – I forgot everything I’m supposed to know!”
When we asked if she has retired, she said with a laugh, “Oh I hope so!”
Nellie married Robert Zell Johnston (Johnston) of Slocomb, Alabama, at 18 years old. He was a combat-wounded Disabled Veteran who served in France during WWII and received a Purple Heart Award. After returning home from France, Nellie gave birth to twin boys, Ted and Fred.
Nellie was a member of the Lakeland DAV for over 50 years. Many of those years she was the Commander of the DAV Women’s Auxiliary. She volunteered and helped many other community functions and helped financially support those organizations, as well, through their business dealings. Nellie remains a devoted member of The Enrichment Centers organization. She supports financially, encourages others daily and greets everyone with a smile.