VIDEO: Welcome Home, Luke!


Published on April 22 2013 11:32 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Click here for our full photo gallery of Luke's return home.

Luke Johnson, the St. Anthony Grade School student that has been the subject of so much attention and so many prayers in recent months, is back home in Effingham.

Luke, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Rick Johnson, is a Kindergarten student who has been battling cancer.  He has been adopted by the St. Anthony community.  Various events have been held to celebrate Luke and his battle.  He was first taken under the wing of several sports teams in the area, and later by emergency services agencies.  He was escorted on his way to St. Louis for treatment by local fire departments. 

Those same agencies accompanied Luke on his way back to Effingham Monday.  The Greenville Fire Department had an engine on the interstate overpass and the Vandalia Department sent an engine onto the interstate to accompany the Johnsons, beginning the process of handing them off company to company as they entered each fire departments' territory.


Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy greets Luke with an emotional hug as he arrives home.

The Effingham Fire Department brought the family into Effingham, but every other fire company in Effingham County was also a part of the procession or the welcoming crowd that lined up along the Johnson's home block of Koester Street.

Well-wishers lined up along Koester Street and a large contingent of local firefighters were gathered on the Johnsons' front lawn when they arrived home.  Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy was one of the first to greet Luke, picking him up and giving him a big bear hug.  Others who are friends and neighbors to the Johnsons were on hand, as was local resident Mike Wilson, who worked hard to recruit local athletes to participate in various "Team Luke" activities over the past several months.

Below is video we shot at the scene. Towards the end is our conversation with Luke's dad, Rick. We asked how he felt on such an emotional homecoming day...