By John B. Anderson | National Geographic, August 27, 2018 | 11:39:22A good Samaritans can be a godsend, and there are plenty of them in Dallas.
As of last year, there were more than 1,300 people in the city who helped out with a variety of local charities, including Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and others.
“There are so many great Samaritans out there,” said Carol Fitch, executive director of Dallas-based nonprofit Habitat.
Dallas is home to more than 3,300 churches, according to the Dallas Public Library.
And Dallas has one of the largest Catholic communities in the country, with nearly 6,000 parishioners.
But it’s not all Christian groups.
A good example of a local Samaritan is a man named James “James” Johnson.
He’s an Army veteran who had been discharged for mental health issues, and he was a volunteer firefighter in Dallas for 20 years.
Johnson said he started volunteering with Habitat to help with construction projects, but his job became more of a social activity.
When the construction site became too dangerous, Johnson volunteered to stay in a motel room and go to a local soup kitchen, helping out with food, supplies and even helping out in the kitchen.
It’s not always easy to find the right person to help out, said Johnson, who’s now retired.
For some, the first place they turn is a local pastor.
After Johnson joined Habitat, he began working at the church.
He started a Sunday school, and started a program where people could go in and help with the cleanup of the soup kitchen.
They’d clean the walls and the floors, and the pastor would clean and wash dishes and take care of the other volunteer firefighters.
The volunteers were all Christian, Johnson said.
It was just a matter of finding the right one to do it for.
Once the volunteers had been on the job for a while, Johnson started getting calls from the local fire department asking about his work.
The department had a new volunteer firefighter who had not been trained as a chaplain.
So Johnson contacted the fire department and said, “Can you please have him work with the soup kitchens?”
Johnson said he didn’t know what to say.
The chaplain called Johnson and said he was the right man for the job.
Johnson immediately agreed.
The firefighter quickly became a mentor for Johnson, helping him get up and down the line of fire, helping the volunteer firefighters to set up and clean up their own fires and even supervising them.
Johnson said it was a lot of work.
But he also said it helped him to connect with the people who needed help.
“I felt that if I could just get one person to feel like they could help someone else, I could change their life for the better,” Johnson said, adding that he’s thankful he could do it.
Even though he’s retired, Johnson still helps out at the soup house every Sunday.
In Dallas, Johnson is known as a good guy, and when he’s not at the firehouse, he’s always hanging out at his sister’s house.
There’s a reason why Dallas has so many good Samaritons, Fitch said.
Fitch said the church has a “big impact” in helping people, including helping people who are unemployed or living in a poverty-stricken area.
At the souphouse, Johnson, now 66, said the biggest difference he noticed between him and his former co-workers was the people he had met.
He said they all looked out for him and cared about him.
“It’s very, very rare that we get a call from somebody that we’ve never met before,” Johnson told the AP.
“And when we do, we’re grateful.”
As the National Geographic team continues to investigate the impact of faith-based charities on the lives of Americans, we’ll be following this story closely to see if we learn anything new.
National Geographic’s The Mission Continues airs Sundays at 11 p.m.
ET on National Geographic Channel.