In one day, Second Street Joe's 'appreciation fund' raises more than $5K
This will be a Christmas to remember for Joe Johnson.
A fundraising campaign to support Joe, known locally as the "Second Street Waver," has raised more than $5,000 — in just one day. As of this writing, 278 people have chipped in between $5 and $200 for Joe's appreciation fund.
"I created this GoFundMe page so his fans could do something nice for him and as a way to show their support for what he does," says Dean Riggott, a local photographer who manages Joe's public Facebook page. "He lives on very little, so this will be a huge deal to him."
Riggott originally expected to raise a few hundred dollars for Joe. Within three hours, though, the campaign had collected more than $1,500 in donations. "He's going to be so surprised and appreciative, " Riggott wrote on Facebook.
All of the money raised will go to Joe for him to use on new waving attire, his beloved Pepsi, a new laptop and anything else he may need.
This is all a surprise, so the public is being asked to refrain from telling Joe about the fundraising campaign. Riggott promises to record Joe's reaction and post it to Facebook. You can learn more about the campaign here.
Earlier this year, as part of our Rochester Voices project, we caught up with Joe to find out what motivates him to give back to the community:
"I sat in my apartment in the darkness all the time and I kept asking God: 'What do I do now? Everybody I love is gone — what do I do?' So then as time went on I happened to see the flags for our country and that brought me back to life. I just came out one day and started waving and everybody caught on. They just loved what I did.
I try to make everything happen. People say 'I don’t know how you do it.' It's me! God’s given me some kind of life. Now I’ve got more energy, I’m so electrified. You could call me a lightning bolt.
I never give up ... It doesn’t matter if I fail. I’m still happy. To me, I’m a happy-go-lucky guy. I just come and do what I gotta do."
(Cover photo: File / Med City Beat)