By Thomas Sellers Jr.
He’s known as a former Millington Trojan athlete.
In some circles, Tony Johnson is a coach and in other parts of Flag City he’s the Millington Trojan Football Booster Club president. The many hats of Johnson cover one face — apparently a poker face.
Earlier this summer, Johnson was dealt a hand that brought him an online poker victory in a fundraiser to help those effected by the COVID-19 crisis. The winnings were a grand prize for the charity of Johnson’s choice.
“I trade stocks,” Johnson noted. “That’s the business I am in. One of my guys I trade with out of Chicago, Citadel Securities put together an online poker tournament. I don’t really play or do anything. But they said, ‘Hey do you want to play?’ So we played as they go it together. About 50 to 60 people go in there, it didn’t cost at thing. It was free and it was a virtual poker thing.
“The winner they would pay $5,000 to the charity of their choice,” he continued. “You’re looking at the winner, somehow. I think I ended up winning with a full house, three jacks and two 8s if I’m not mistaken. That’s beside the point, I ended up looking like, ‘Oh my, I just won this thing.’”
Of course Johnson’s first thought for a charity went to his beloved Trojan Football team.
“I want to keep it in Millington,” he explained. “I didn’t think they could give the football team because I would always start there and work my way over. It just kind of came about. My wife might have mention something about them.
“When they ask me who to give it to, they wanted to give it to somebody who might have been doing something with COVID-related things,” Johnson noted. “I didn’t know at that point because we were doing all the meals for the kids. I didn’t even know and that became my way to help the schools.”
After some back and forth the organizers of the online tournament gave their blessing to bestow the money on the Millington Education Foundation. Johnson noted that the MEF has given more than $100,000 to E.A. Harrold Elementary, Millington Elementary, Millington Middle School and Millington Central High School.
Since 2014 the MEF has given away $100,201.79 under the guidance of the Board featuring Cary Vaughn, Mark Healy, Karroll Warberg, Karla Hornsby, Beth Hearn, Rebecca Fears, Chuck Hurt Jr., LeAnna Dagen, Randy Hart, Jeremy Tincher, Rosie Crawford, Mark Neal and Thomas Sellers Jr.
In a financially tough year with no fundraiser and lower donations, the MEF Board expressed gratitude for Johnson’s selection.
“You know me, I’m not looking for anything, praise,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t bother me one bit if I don’t get recognized as long as our kids are taken care of.
“I want Millington to be the best Millington can be,” the 1989 MCHS graduate concluded. “And for all those who are on the Millington Education Foundation, I commend you all for what you do. I’m just here to help whenever I can.”