Turning grief into gratitude: Johnson family community mask giveaway June 24 at Brady Sullivan Plaza

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Sign of encouragement posted outside Catholic Medical Center by the Johnson Family. Courtesy

MANCHESTER, NH — Finding a way to show gratitude in the midst of grief has been a healing experience for one local family after losing their father to COVID-19.

Rene Johnson, 65, died May 17 at Catholic Medical Center. The father of five and grandfather to 11 was a true family man and enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and singing karaoke, according to his obituary.

Rene Johnson

The Johnson family story went viral when Angela shared pictures on social media showing CMC nurses holding messages up to the window in Rene Johnson’s room for his family, who had gathered in the park below. The family was unable to be at Rene’s bedside due to hospital COVID-19 regulations and relied on messages from the nurses for updates on their father’s condition.

Message of Peace: A touching photo that circulated on social media following the death of Rene Johnson of CMC nurses letting the Johnson family know their father had passed. Courtesy Photo

Ultimately, the news of Rene’s passing was also communicated to the family by way of a window message from the nurses, in a heartbreaking photo that has since been shared by media outlets around the world including CNN International, World News Tonight With David Muir, WMUR and WJYY.

“We are deeply grateful for all of the amazing staff at CMC who went above and beyond to help our family” says Daneault “We are continuing to collect donations and deliver meals to the CMC staff to show our support for all of their hard work, but the one thing they really want is for everyone to just wear a mask.”

Moved by the family’s story, Brady Sullivan Properties has donated $500 toward the purchase of masks for the Johnson Family Community Mask Giveaway, spearheaded by Daneault and her siblings Randy and Kevin Johnson.

The Johnson family worked with the United Way to acquire more than 3,000 face masks, and will be handing them out to the public for free at the Brady Sullivan Plaza, 1000 Elm St., on Wednesday, June 24 from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

“We are very pleased to partner with Angela, her family, and Brady Sullivan on this important initiative. Easy access to face masks is one of the best ways we know of to fight the spread and resurgence of COVID-19. We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner on this project” said United Way of Greater Nashua President, Mike Apfelberg.


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“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Johnson family and all of the amazing healthcare staff on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Arthur Sullivan of Brady Sullivan Properties. “We realize that everyone is anxious to get back to work and for life to return to normal, but it’s important that we all do what we can to protect ourselves and each other against the ongoing threat this virus.”

Brady Sullivan Properties is one of New England’s largest Real Estate developers, with an extensive portfolio of residential and commercial properties throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.