Veteran Profile: Councilman Shawn Johnson

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"I've always wanted to be in the military since I was a child, and I joined the Colorado National Guard when I was a junior in high school."

Councilman Johnson went to basic training during his upperclassmen years in high school.
After graduation, he studied to become a combat medic.
During his studies, one of the darkest moments in our nation's history occurred with terrorist attacks in 2001, and Johnson was ordered to Iraq in 2003 when he was 19 years old.
He turned 20 when he reached Baghdad in April the same year.
It's a lot of responsibility for a young man, but the council member credits his military experience to handle his current challenges.

"The Army has taught me how to work under pressure, how to deal with stress, and there's a lot of stress and pressure when it comes to certain times in city council so it's kind of taught me how to handle that."

And Johnson continues handling a lot.
He works one weekend a month, and two weeks out of the year in the summer for the Army, balances a full time job as a deputy sheriff, and of course has city council duties.
Some say it's an overload, but Johnson says he can do even more.

"A lot of people warn me because I do have those three things going on, plus I'm a student at the University of Wyoming. People are like wow how can you handle all that? In the Army, especially during basic training and things like that, they throw as much as they can at you to try to overwhelm you, so I'm used to it."

Scary and stressful moments overseas in Iraq remind him things can be much worse.
It's something that helped shape him, but it doesn't define him.

"Everything in a person's life kind of defines who they are. Not just one thing. I'm not just a soldier, or just a councilman, or just a deputy sheriff. I'm Shawn, but all those things kind of help shape who I am. I don't like to define myself by a job or by a title. I just like to define myself by my actions and how I carry myself."

Johnson isn't the only council member with military experience.
Councilwoman Amanda Huckabay and Councilman Chris Walsh also have ties to the military.