Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. was honored on Friday as his foundation, the Paris Johnson Jr. Foundation, was named the winner of the Armed Forces Merit Award.
Johnson’s foundation specializes in serving disabled veterans, as well as disadvantaged student-athletes, by providing them with resources and benefits to ease their situations. The foundation, which was set up with his mother, Monica, when Johnson was still in high school, has raised more than $10,000 — with the proceeds going to resources for veterans, student-athletes and the homeless.
The Paris Johnson Jr. Foundation was selected by the Football Writers Association of America from a pool of 50 other nominees for the award. The Armed Forces Merit Award aims to “honor an individual and/or group within the realm of the sport of football.”
“The foundation established by Paris and his mother is very unique where a student-athlete and his family are actively involved with helping military veterans,” said executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Brant Ringler. “While playing a key role on one of the nation’s top collegiate football teams, what Paris is accomplishing through his foundation is remarkable. We hope at least one player on every college football program in the United States can follow the exemplary example that Paris has set.”
Johnson was also recently named a semi-finalist of the Rotary Lombardi Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding offensive or defensive lineman in the country, who also exemplifies strong character.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day also penned a letter of support to the FWAA ahead of Johnson earning the award, noting that he is a “wonderful civilian, one who cares and takes care of those who are less fortunate. He does this through his foundation. These efforts that Paris does with his foundation are indicative of the leader that he is … on the field and off. He is a conscientious young man, an incredibly sincere and thoughtful individual, and someone I can’t wait to see succeed in life as an upstanding citizen.”