Lee County lost a beloved member of the community last Friday as Johnny Lawrence lost his weeks-long battle with Covid-19 at the young age of 62.
Lawrence leaves a legacy of public service and a lifetime of love for our community, for veterans, and for anyone fortunate enough to have known him.
He served as a Lee County Commissioner since 2002. His service as a firefighter in Auburn for nearly 30 years included helping man the lines with his fellow firefighters as a young 19-year-old when the Kopper Kettle exploded in downtown Auburn. Firefighters showed their love and respect for him over the weekend when they paraded their trucks past his home and escorted the hearse from the hospital, according to his wife, Maggie, who implored others to honor him by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing hands, and for showing the same amount of care for others as Johnny did throughout his lifetime.
"He did all these things because he cared about others and he would want you all to do the same," said Maggie in a message posted to Facebook.
Johnny was a fierce supporter of U.S. veterans, frequently spearheading efforts to support them and regularly driving a military Jeep in area parades with Lt. Gen. Hal Moore or Command Sgt. Major Bennie Adkins, who also passed away earlier this year after battling Covid-19.
Another of Johnny's passions was photography. He could always be found on the sidelines of Auburn football games or angling for a good shot at Plainsman Park. Since he passed, numerous other professional photographers have shared their shots of Johnny on the sidelines, a testament to the love he inspired in all those he knew.
Johnny was an Auburn man through and through, graduating from Auburn City Schools and Auburn University before answering a life-long call to be of public service in the community.
His legacy will be felt for many years in the Auburn community, and we're all the better for it.