The parents of Dion Johnson recently accepted the Victory Award on his behalf when the National Rehabilitation Hospital bestowed the honor during a fund-raising gala. Johnson, who died of heatstroke last summer, was a former high school football star at Frederick Douglass High School. After a spinal-cord injury resulted in quadriplegia, he continued to lead a successful life.
Despite his injury and months of rehabilitation, Johnson went on to graduate from high school and start college at Bowie State University. He continued to be involved in sports, interning in the sports department at WJLA Channel 7.
There he did an autobiographical on-air piece about what it's like to live day to day in a wheelchair.
The award, accepted by Wanda Washington, Johnson's mother, and Sam Washington, his stepfather, honors those who have coped with physical adversity in an exemplary way.
Vaughn Thomas Gray III, a College Park resident who will graduate in June from Amherst College in Massachusetts, was one of 32 students nationwide to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. Gray, a graduate of St. Andrews in Montgomery County, is finishing a double major in philosophy and biology. At Amherst, he serves as student government president, plays on the rugby team and is a soloist in the college choir.
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