Ernie Johnson’s wife Cheryl Johnson is a saint, and Ernie himself is a great guy. Back in 1991, Cheryl told Ernie she needed to go to Romania to try and help out with their exploding orphan child population. She had it in her mind that she would try and find a very young child (under a year) without any permanent handicaps. Instead, she found a three year-old boy with a host of just about the worst handicaps you can imagine, and she felt pity and worry over his future. She told Ernie about him over the phone, and Ernie told her to “bring him home.” Ernie and Cheryl Johnson are heroes.
Their son Michael is now 26. He suffers from severe muscular dystrophy, which is a hellish disease that causes one’s muscles to atrophy and dissolve away. That means every muscle– like the muscles you use to play guitar, the muscles you use to speak, the muscles you use to breathe. Think about that the next time you want to feel sorry for yourself. He uses a wheelchair and permanent ventilator with a tracheostomy tube, but he’s received all kinds of treatments and care that he certainly would not have had in Romania. Since there is no cure for muscular dystrophy, his disease gets worse every year. Ernie says of his son that “every day is a blessing.” Michael is just one of four adopted children of Ernie and his wife Cheryl. The couple also have two biological children, one them, Maggie, was inspired by her parents to become a special education teacher.
Ernie says of adoption: “Every child has the right to a home. Any time I can, I speak to the benefit of adoptions for both parents and children, I never hesitate. At the same time it wouldn’t be an honest portrayal if people thought I was preaching something that was all blue skies.” Cheryl met Ernie when she was the drive-in teller at a bank back in 1979. Ernie was a news anchor for a station in Macon, Georgia. He somehow managed to start dating the bank teller. That’s pretty impressive. I mean, I guess you just sit in the car and talk to her during the banking exchange or whatever. Anyway, Cheryl and Ernie are awesome.