On Friday retired Air Force Chief Sergeant Stefiel Johnson was laid to rest at the Fort Sill National cemetery. He was one week short of 92 years. Stefiel spent 30 plus years in active military service. He served in both the Army and the Air Force. In the Air Force, he was in charge of tons of munitions (explosives). After retiring, Stefiel and his wife Laura settled back home in Duncan and they became active in the Stephens County Republican Party. That is where I first met them. Here are my comments about Stefiel.
First, Stefiel was a patriot. He loved America. He had dedicated his life to serving and to duty and that went beyond his military service. In 1994, he agreed to serve when I asked him to serve as the Republican representative on the Stephens County election board. Our appointed ‘Republican’ representative on the board wouldn’t return phone calls and ignored the local Party. After discussion, the local Party leadership sought someone who would be our eyes and ears in the election process and was one of us. Stefiel was that person. He was faithful, willing to serve and did the job without fanfare.
Second, Stefiel was a campaigner. Once a Republican nominee was determined, Stefiel was all in for the candidate. He was the ‘Sign King.’ He put up more campaign signs than anyone I have ever seen. He loved it. Stefiel worked on winning and losing campaigns and prior to 2004, most Republicans running were not successful. Winning or losing didn’t seem to matter to Stefiel. He simply put up more signs. He worked on local campaigns, as well as legislative and statewide campaigns. More than once, campaigns had to order more signs because Steifiel had ‘ran them out.’ In his signature overalls, Stefiel put thousands of miles on his truck traveling Stephens county sticking signs in the ground. When his health prevented him from putting out signs, he and Laura would man the local county GOP HQ. He stayed engaged.
Stefiel never sought or held a leadership position in the SCGOP, but he was critical to the growth of Republican Party affiliation in Stephens county. He and Laura were among the first awarded the Dr. Gerald Beasley Jr. Memorial Award. The Beasley award is awarded annually to a top volunteer in the Stephens County GOP. They were well deserving.
Third, Stefiel was consistent. That was probably because of his long time dedication to duty. Stefiel faithfully worked elections for over twenty five years. Stefiel faithfully attended SCGOP monthly meetings. He attended dozens of OKGOP state conventions. He sat through hours of self-promoting, boring political speeches. Stefiel saw beyond the rhetoric and stayed focused on the real goal; better government.
Stefiel Johnson didn’t seek glory or recognition during his time on earth. He did his duty and worked behind the scenes. That type of unseen work is what makes an organization/community successful. Stefiel provided an example for Americans everywhere- get involved and stay involved in your government.
Precinct meetings and county conventions for the GOP are being held across the state. Go to okgop.com to find out when your area is holding their meetings. You have an opportunity to make a difference by being involved. It is our duty as citizens. Stefiel understood duty – do you?
Steve Fair is Chairman of the 4th district of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.
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