Michael Johnson Honored with 2018 Jaharis Service Award

Michael Johnson receives the 2018 Jaharis Service Award from
Jaharis Family Foundation Executive Director Peggy Nicholson

Michael Johnson, a member of the Leadership 100 Board of Trustees, was honored with the 2018 Jaharis Service Award by the Washington Oxi Day Foundation at a ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC on October 25, 2018. This award is presented each year during celebration of #OXIcourage in Washington, DC. It celebrates the life and legacy of Michael Jaharis, a Founder of Leadership 100,  by recognizing an individual for their dedicated service to the country during the Korean War and for their many contributions, in the spirit of Michael Jaharis, to the Greek-American community, to the United States and to the world. The award was presented to Johnson by the Executive Director of the Jaharis Family Foundation, Peggy Sotirhos Nicholson.

The previous recipients of this prestigious award were John Payiavlas (2016), Chairman Emeritus and Chairman of the Nominating Committee of Leadership 100, and Peter Vlachos (2017), a member of the Leadership 100 Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Investment Committee.

Michael S. Johnson was drafted during the Korean War and served from September 1950 to December 1952. He completed basic infantry training at Fort Dix in New Jersey and was then assigned to Fort Belvoir in Virginia where he taught photogrammetry and interpretation of aerial photographs.

Washington Oxi Day Foundation President and Founder Andy Manatos with Johnson

In June 1951, Johnson was transferred to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP), headquartered at the Pentagon. Working together with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), he was involved with a program at the Nevada test site that consisted of detonating 15 atomic bombs, carrying from 1 to 31 kilotons, to obtain the first ever measurements of the heat and blast effects. Johnson offered advice (as a non-commissioned officer) and witnessed the detonation of all 15 bombs, one of which was the size of the bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Johnson was born in Maryville, Missouri in 1926. His father immigrated to America at age 14 in 1903. Johnson graduated from The Ohio State University in 1949 with a BA and MSc in Geology. He enjoyed a successful career in the oil and gas business, highlighted by his participation in the discovery of the Parshall Oil Field in North Dakota, one of the largest oil fields in North America. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious “Outstanding Explorer” Award by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. His exploration efforts over the past 57 years include over 10 oil discoveries spanning the entire Rocky Mountain Region, as well as projects in Greece, Italy, Guatemala, Panama and Canada.

For the past 60 years, Johnson has been an active supporter of Hellenism and Orthodoxy in the U.S. He is a member of FAITH, serves on the Board of Trustees for Leadership 100 and served for over 20 years on the Archdiocesan Council (where he first met Michael Jaharis). He has been a member of the Order of Saint Andrew since 1980 and is a major financial supporter of the Archdiocese, among several other causes. Johnson presently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Katherine, of 59 years. They have two children, Alicia and Mark, and two grandchildren.

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