A father’s heartfelt donation
After the loss of a child most parents might withdraw from the outside world, but one Galena Park ISD parent found comfort by continuing his involvement with our school district.
As a single parent, Eric Johnson lost his son, Cory, in an automobile accident in 2003. Young Cory attended Cimarron Elementary and after completing the fifth grade his life was tragically cut short. In the midst of overwhelming grief, his father wanted to give something back to the school that his son so dearly loved. Johnson graciously donated $10,000 to Cimarron Elementary in Cory’s name.
“I realized the impact and the influence this school and the people here had in helping Cory and myself that I wanted to allow them the opportunity to touch and help others the way they helped us,” Johnson said.
According to Principal Crystal Murray, the generous offering was more than anyone could have imagined. “We all loved Cory and we greatly appreciate Mr. Johnson’s contribution. We are truly thankful for his kindness.”
In honor of Cory’s love of academics the donation was used to upgrade technology throughout the campus. A bronze statue of a boy reading a book was purchased and placed in the library as a memorial to Cory. A small reflecting pond was also installed outside a library window for the students to enjoy.
Cory’s fifth grade Journey’s teacher, Caleb Cannon, described him as a critical thinker. “Cory took classroom discussions to the next level. He was excellent at problem solving and higher level thinking.”
After teachers recognized Cory’s talents, they created the Critical Thinker award and presented it to Cory when he was in the fifth grade. As a tribute to Cory, one student from each grade level will be selected to receive this award each year. The year following Cory’s passing, Johnson presented the Critical Thinker awards to the fourth and fifth grade recipients.
“Cory was like a sponge,” Murray said. “He was gifted, well-rounded and had an extremely strong character. He loved learning and he loved being at school.”
Johnson visits the students and teachers at Cimarron Elementary often. He said staying in contact with the school has helped him through the healing process. “Some of my fondest memories of my son are at this school,” Johnson said.
Murray explained that Johnson’s donation will enable Cory to live in the hearts and minds of the students at her campus. “Cory was a role model for kids and adults. He will never be forgotten and we don’t want the kids of Cimarron to forget him either.”
IN MEMORIAM. Johnson with the statue purchased in his son’s memory.