VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Judge Ryan Johanningsmeier’s community commemorated him on the grounds of Superior Court II where Johanningsmeier started up the drug court for the county several years ago.
Johanningsmeier was killed over the weekend in a small plane crash in Lawrence County, Illinois. He was the pilot and the only one aboard.
It was his impact on his community that many will remember. Local pastor Alex Rudolph says Johanningsmeier had a compassionate heart and aimed to see people in his community succeed and that’s what will be hard to replace in his role.
A candle light vigil ceremony commemorated the judge, several people took to the podium to speak of Johanninsmeier.
People left flowers, pictures and even a couple of bottles of Mountain Dew.
We want to remember the compassion that he had, we want to remember how good he was to everyone. I know when he walked into a room and there was someone who was a high political official or someone who had just come out of incarceration, he had a respect for and a dignity for humanity. He looked at everybody as an individual and he either applauded them for the successes that they were achieving or if they were in a circumstance that they needed built up, he would be their cheerleader and lift them up and try to build them up, so that’s what we need to continue to do as a community. As the culture is what it is today, with so much division and so many fractions people running around that the best thing we can do is love one another.”New Heart Church pastor, Alex Rudolph
Rudolph says he also helps people into recovery from drug and alcohol and worked alongside Johanningsmeier. He says the community needs to remember what Johanningsmeier started for Knox County and the importance of voting someone into office who has his same compassion.