The HIV movement in our county has had its share of heroes over the years, but there are a handful of folks who are no less than legendary to those close to the cause. One of Triad Health Project’s founding fathers and a lifelong brother to many, Johnny McGee, passed away last week. The relative freedoms and advances that are now common to the HIV experience are gifts hard won by the blood, sweat, courage and no shortage of tears by beautiful pioneers like Johnny and his husband, Bruce.
Our hearts are shattered; our resolve remains. A flame has been extinguished in the world, but Johnny McGee has left a beacon in its place. We will tend this light until Johnny’s vision and hope, passed trustingly into our hands, is realized for all people.
—Executive Director Mark Cassity and Board Chairperson Shane Burton
Triad Health Project got its start as a group of friends gathered around a kitchen table in 1986. Last week, we lost one of those friends. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge Johnny McGee’s fierce support of folks living with HIV throughout the decades. He and his partner Bruce Thede helped shape the culture of empathy and dignity that are the bedrock of our holistic approach to client care and sexual wellness these many years later.
We are so grateful for Johnny’s legacy, and we would not be the organization we are today without the great gifts of his mentorship and vision.
Linked above is an oral history of the early days of THP collected by the UNCG Special Collections and University Archives. In this heartfelt—and often funny—storytelling, you can hear all the many ways they’ve modeled allyship and ongoing support for those in our community impacted directly and indirectly by HIV and AIDS.