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  • Writer's pictureDani Hatfield

Twila Johnson: A Dedicated Friend of Sullivan Hills Camp


Twila Johnson, a long-time friend of Sullivan Hills Camp, has been an active supporter of the camp’s events and initiatives since the property was donated by Lester & Lillian Sullivan in 1995.


At that time, Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (NLOM) recruited volunteers from area congregations to tear down the old barn and clear out some dead trees.


Twila’s late husband, Milt, joined that effort and recruited others to help.


Twila joined many other women in providing food for those working on the property.


“Sullivan Hills Camp changed from a broken-down farm to a well-developed, beautiful place,” she remarked.


Twila, who hails from nearby Chappell, is always eager to lend a helping hand whenever needed.


“We needed something in this area, some place for our kids to go,” Twila acknowledged.


One of her favorite pastimes is quilting, and she is an accomplished seamstress with a real talent for creating beautiful quilt designs.


“When I first met Twila, she showed me around her place and all the special quilt projects she was working on,” NLOM Development Officer, Trish Haniszewski recalled. “Then she introduced me to her whole family, going one-by-one through the family portraits hanging above her fireplace.”


Twila’s husband, Milt, passed away some time ago, leaving her with four daughters, Cindy and Mike Broderick of Chappell, Cheryl and Lonnie Eckstrom of Palmer, Brenda and Kevin Derry of Chappell, and Barbara and Rick Mikelson of Julesburg, Colo., and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In fact, her granddaughter held her wedding at Sullivan Hills Camp and several of Twila’s great-grandchildren have also attended summer camp.


“Her love for her family shines through in everything she does, and it’s clear that they mean the world to her,” Trish emphasized.


Twila’s seen the positive impact of camp first-hand in her family.


“Sullivan Hills Camp provides an experience for children to see faith—mentored by young adults—in addition to the faith shared by their parents,” she explained.


Twila is also part of a close-knit group of widows, including Doreen Carlson, Sheila Cheleen,

and Fauneil Johnson.


Over the years, these four ladies have regularly attended the annual Heart of the Hills benefit dinner and other events hosted by NLOM.


They have put together many fun auction baskets for the benefit dinner and were always ready to pitch in and help out whenever needed.


“They are a wonderful group of friends who support each other through thick and thin, and they all share a deep love for Sullivan Hills Camp,” Trish added.


NLOM is recognizing Twila Johnson with the Servant Award for more than two decades of dedication and service to Sullivan Hills Camp at the Heart of the Hills benefit on June 29.


Tickets for the Heart of the Hills benefit are still available. For more information or to purchase your tickets, click here or call 402-944-2544.

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