THE JOHNSON WALSH STORY
From our family to yours.
THE JOHNSON FAMILY:
THE PERFECT BLEND
By Brandi Thring – Neighbours from River to Ranch
On Aug. 6, 2016, surrounded by their combined five children, Jaime and Tara Johnson said “I Do” at the South Thompson Inn.
They both went to high school in Kamloops, but Tara would have to travel half way around the world and back again to meet the man she plans to spend the rest of her life with.
“We met on Plenty of Fish and chatted for a couple of days and then went on a blind date in 2011,” explained Tara, adding that within a month she had invited him and his children to her family’s annual Christmas Eve celebration, where they were welcomed by nearly 60 extended family members. They survived and their bond deepened.
Now, not only do they spend their off time together as husband and wife, they also work together full-time at Johnson & Walsh Plumbing and Heating.
“It’s kind of like opposites attract at work — we both have different strengths,” said Tara, adding with a smile, “Basically I just tell him what he needs to know.”
Working out the details is one of Tara’s strengths, which makes her job as office manager the perfect fit. For Jaime, his strengths lie in making firsthand contact with potential customers to find solutions to their plumbing and heating needs. He is a Red Seal plumber and gas fitter who has been in the industry for basically his entire life.
“I’ve been in the plumbing and heating business my whole life,” he said. “At five years old I was putting toilet seats on for my Dad.”
In 1993 he was the youngest person in Kamloops to receive his Red Seal license. He worked for his father for a few years before heading out on his own in 1997, when he formed Johnson’s Water Works. Then in the summer of 2015 he was approached to move in and help take care of the J. Walsh and Sons customers.
“Opportunity presented itself for further growth and a division was renamed Johnson Walsh, in cooperation with the Walsh family,” Tara explained, adding that in the past year they have experienced great expansion and are now in the process of moving to a new location at 921 Laval Crescent to better serve their customers.
The new location is scheduled to open Jan. 2 and will include a larger showroom. Appliance Gallery will also be moving locations. When asked about Christmas plans, Jaime and Tara both agree that this holiday season will be spent getting everything ready for a great start to the new year.
“Come hell or high water and sleepless nights we’ll be ready,” Jaime insisted.
Family life outside of business is also important to Tara and Jaime. They love to hit the slopes together in the winter and enjoy snowmobiling as well. Jaime’s daughter Kameryn is in Grade 12 at NorKam and his 15-year-old twins Hunter and Zachary are students at Valleyview High School. They split time between their mother’s home and at Tara and Jaime’s in Campbell Creek.
Kameryn and Hunter are currently working at McDonald’s and Hunter is diligently saving up for his first vehicle, possibly a Ford F-150 or Ford F-350, but his dream car is a Suburu BRZ. He gets his love of sports cars directly from his father, who is a lifelong NASCAR fan who makes time to attend races live at least once a year. Jaime’s favourite driver is Jimmie Johnson, a six-time champion on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
“I’m inspired by him because he grew up in poverty and made it to where he is today as one of the top race car drivers out there,” Jaime explained, adding attending races is one of his favourite things to do. “I love the whole atmosphere — the cars, the equipment, the sound and smell of the tires and the gas.”
Since meeting five years ago, Jaime has passed on his love of the track to Tara.
“I was never into NASCAR, but he took me to my first live race and then I was hooked.”
Jaime is also a huge fan of Mustangs. He bought his first at the age of 18, and has had at least one ever since. Currently a 2007 customized convertible and a 2017 Shelby GT350 are at home in Jaime’s collection.
Outside of work Tara enjoys neighbourhood walks, and has participated in several races, including the Seattle half-marathon; Kelowna Mud, Sweat and Tears; and most recently Foam Fest 2016 at Sun Peaks. She also taught herself to crochet by watching YouTube videos and enjoys making hats, blankets and slippers.
She completed her medical office assistant course at the University College of the Cariboo (now TRU) in 1999, and then got a job working on Princess cruises. Following that she lived in England for 10 years, where she married and had two sons, Austin, 15, and Jeffrey, 12. When she returned to Kamloops in 2011, her boys stayed behind with their father, but she maintains in close contact with them through Skype and the Internet, and looks forward to seeing them for four weeks each summer.
At their wedding in August, Jaime secretly arranged to have Austin and Jeffrey sing a special song for their Mom. While Jeffrey dreams of making Canada his home one day, Tara describes Austin as decidedly British. He hopes to become an officer in the army, if his dreams of becoming a pop star don’t come to fruition first.
When all five children come together under their parent’s roof, Tara and Jaime say they get along great and all blend well into comfortable chaos, along with the family dog Harley and cat Diva. All together, Kamloops feels like home.
“I’ve travelled lots, but whenever I get close to Kamloops it feels like home,” said Jaime. “I’ve never thought of moving.”