One St. Rita Student does his part to Give Back to Herbie Johnson

It has been just over a month since St. Rita High School and the city of Chicago lost one of its finest, Chicago Fire Department Captain Herbie Johnson ’76. Captain Johnson left an indelible mark on everyone he came in contact with and because of that, one student at St. Rita is trying to do his part to give back to the Johnson family.

Chris Wanat, a junior football player, heard about the passing of Captain Johnson at their home football game and immediately thought of the family he left behind. “I am sure it was heartbreaking what the family had to go through,” Wanat stated. “I thought it would be nice to help the family and show them support.”

Chris’ mother works at RN Sports and Chris came up with the idea to create t-shirts in honor of Captain Johnson to be sold with the proceeds going directly to the family. Chris contacted the Johnson’s and asked permission to put Herbie’s name on the shirts He also contacted the Chicago Fire Department

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and received permission from parties. .

Chris had 500 t-shirts made up and quickly spread the word throughout the school selling the shirts during lunch time, after school, and at St. Rita’s most recent open house. As of Friday, over 430 shirts had been sold with requests for many more. This project grew in such popularity that the St. Rita bookstore will now be selling the shirts to students and the general public.

“It guys like Chris Wanat that make St. Rita High School so special,” Fr. Tom McCarthy O.S.A. stated. “He is a true Ritaman just like Herbie was.”

Chris does not plan to stop with t-shirts, he hopes to make bracelets as well and sell them through St. Rita and the CFD with all profits going directly to the Johnson family.

“Every day I feeling very blessed to be a part of the St. Rita family,” Fr. McCarthy said. “But today is one of those days that I feel a little more blessed and a little more proud.”

To purchase a Herbie Johnson t-shirt you can visit the Mustang bookstore located on the St. Rita campus.