Remembering Van Dale Johnson


Three years ago on Christmas her son died in a car crash. 

Every December 25 since has been hard.

This Christmas a local woman hopes that will be different as she remembers her son’s kind and giving spirit while helping those most in need in our community. 

“My son van was a very kind hearted gentleman, polite, well mannered and he would do anything for you.  He would give the shirt of his back with no problem,” said Becky Cervantes, Van Dale Johnson’s mother.

On Christmas Day 2014, Van Dale Johnson was working for an oil company in Manning, North Dakota. 

The Arvin native was a passenger in a truck with three coworkers when, according to the Highway Patrol, the driver missed a turn and flipped the truck into a ravine.

Johnson and the driver died at the scene. 

Christmas became a holiday Cervantes dreaded. 

That was until this year when while thinking about her son she saw a homeless man shivering in the street. 

“My heart told me he needs help and I’m willing to help,” Cervantes said. 

Helping the man stay warm also warmed her heart and with the start of the Van Dale Johnson Blanket Drive, the once dark holiday has become merry and bright for Cervantes once more

“I feel that if he was here he’d be proud of me for what I’m doing for him,” Cervantes said. 

Anyone interested in donating to the Van Dale Johnson Blanket Drive can drop off a new or used blanket at KRS Hair Group located at 1700 Chester Avenue. 

Blankets collected will be given to the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter. 

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