Elkmont, Ala. – At a very young age, we all ask ourselves the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” As we grow, there are many circumstances that lead us to our decision. In the early 1970’s, Donnie Johns was attending Elkmont High School and playing football as a halfback for the Red Devils. His father, Cedric Johns, was a lieutenant with the Athens Police Department, so law enforcement was in Donnie’s blood. After graduating high school in 1974, Johns didn’t find himself in law enforcement, but digging ditches, by hand, for Burgreen. It didn’t take long before he knew he wanted to do something else. Johns was hired by Athens Fire Department and would work there for two years before being hired by the Athens Police Department. Along with his friend and fellow officer, Jerry Crabtree, Johns was sent to Jacksonville, Alabama, for the police academy. He would serve the City of Athens for eight years as a police officer before taking short-term jobs with Steelcase and Saginaw. Johns says that one man he worked with made the comment that his kids were grown up and it was difficult to be there with them as they grew up. With thoughts like that in mind, Johns took a job with Athens Utilities and worked there for the next 17 years. Looking back, Johns says, “I may have never made much money, but I didn’t miss out on the things that Coty and Amanda (Johns’ children) did”. In 2004, Johns found himself back in law enforcement when an opening became available with the Elkmont Police Department. While serving at Elkmont, Johns also worked with the Limestone Sheriff’s Department, serving there for a decade. Today, Johns still serves the citizens of Elkmont as a police officer and works part-time at Athens State University as a security officer. As for the family, in March, Johns will be celebrating 42 years of marriage with his high school sweetheart, Vickie. His children, Coty and Amanda, are grown and they now have families of their own. Johns says they get to spend a lot of time enjoying the grand kids. The majority of Johns’ career has been spent serving his community while making time for his family. As a final piece of advice, Johns says, “you’ll never regret the time spent with family”. You can “Mark It Down”.