For the Children
Lashawana Johnson's name was the stuff of family legend. When her mother sat down to print the name on her birth certificate, she inadvertently inserted an "a" between the "w" and the "n." Spelled "Lashawana" but pronounced "Lashawna," the name was a constant source of confusion to people.
Not that Ms. Johnson, 27, minded. She extended the same consideration to co- workers and strangers that she showed to her three children, whose photographs lined her cubicle on the 83rd floor of 1 World Trade Center, where she worked as a customer service manager for General Telecom. A single mother to 7-year-old Jade Ashley, 5-year-old Jerrard Maurice and 2- year-old Jordan Timothy, Ms. Johnson spent most of her free time either with her kids or devising ways to surprise them.
"Many times, she would come in with packages from the World Trade Center mall — shirts, blouses, pants, outfits — all for those kids," said Willie Borrero, who worked with Ms. Johnson.
To support her family, Ms. Johnson, who lived in East New York, Brooklyn, awoke at 4 a.m., got her kids dressed and off to the sitter's by 5:30 a.m., and often arrived at her office in time to see the sun rise. On weekends, she was up early and out the door with her children again. "She made sure that every weekend they were very active," said Ms. Johnson's mother, Lois Johnson. "They never stayed home."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 11, 2001.