Hello friends! I am Amanda Nannen, formally Amanda Gramlich. Some of you will know me from school, or through my family, others might not know me at all.. I grew up in Waverly, and had the pleasure of spending a lot of time at my favorite restaurant, Jonis!
My hope with this account is to raise money for an amazing woman who has a special place in my heart, in the community, and I'm sure in most of your hearts as well. Joan "Joni" Johnson has been serving up creamy soft serve ice-cream, mouth watering burgers, flavorful fried goodies and of course "the best cheesesteaks around" for as long as I can remember.
News spreads fast in waverly, and I am sure by now most of you have heard that Joni has decided to close her doors and focus on her health. For those who may not have heard, Joni was recently diagnosed with endometrial cancer. After having a hysterectomy, the doctors discovered the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes. The doctors were worried the cancer may have spread further so Joni will be starting chemo and radiation soon. Friday, June 23, 2017 was her last day open for business. Joni said this was one the hardest decisions of her life, but with her health she had no choice. She will need all her energy to focus on kicking cancers butt!
Though leaving behind her business is terrifying since it has been her lifeline, and her doorway to meeting all of you, Joni is confident she will remain part of our community and keep in touch with everyone she has come to love over her 25+ years of being a staple in Waverly and through all of the friendships she has made with us all. Joni told me her customers (friends) has been what has made her life worthwhile. She is afraid and unsure what to expect next with her treatments, losing her hair, and is worried about not seeing all of you as often.
My request is that we all now do our part in showing her how much she has meant to us over those years, that even if she's not behind that counter serving us ice cream and cheesesteaks, she is still our friend and we will not make her go through this alone. I hope we come together and help her in any way we can, If you can spare anything to help such as:
●Any amount of money given towards her medical expenses and bills for one less stressful thing to focus on. If we all give even a little, it adds up to a lot =)
●Provide meals when she's too weak to cook
* Joni is traveling to Colorado and will not return until after the 5th of July. Once she has returned we will have more information on the meal train. Ashley Shotsman(Ockinga) is heading this program and can be reached at [phone redacted].*
●Write a thoughtful card or letter to brighten her day
●Share stories of fun memories you and your families have had with Joni to make her smile
●Encouragement for when it gets hard to bear.
●Just by being there for her any way you can..
Everything helps and I know Joni will be so grateful for the support and encouragement.
I also want to thank those of you who have already given your time and money to help support Joni! As well as those who came out her last week and gave her words of encourgement, hugs, cards, and your business. She has been so blessed to have you all in her corner =) Its incredible to witness such kindness and generosity. You all made her last week a memorable one!
To all the people who see this and decide to help support Joni, I cannot thank you enough! Joni is so thankful to each and everyone of you!! I'm sorry for the long post in here, but 25+ years and a person like Joni is too hard to condense into just a few words.
If you would like to read further, I've included some more of her story below.
Joni opened up her dairy sweet in 1992, with a dream of being her own boss, a love of ice cream, and of helping others. She thought it would be the perfect fit to only work in the summer and not have to drive in the winter snow. It didn't take long before she realized to make any profits, she would have to remain open year round. She had used credit cards to pay for her start, took 2 months and a lot of hard work cleaning the place up before she was officially ready, and in the beginning only made $20 a day. Eventually, as word of mouth spread, that $20 grew to $50, then $100, etc. Within 1 year her business was a success!
She had many helpers along the way, who made Jonis what you all know it as today. Some years were better than others of course, especially when new places like Amigos, McDonald's, Subway, etc. opened their doors. However, Joni stayed true to who she was and customers always came back because Jonis was an atmosphere unlike any other in town. It was home.
Jonis has been a place to go after a relaxing day at the pool, or a place to get cold treats after a ball game for many years. It's where we celebrated birthdays, good grades, and other fun moments in our lives. It was a place to unwind and vent about your day to someone who truly cares and who would make you the best ice cream sundae to take away some of the stress of your day. Jonis has always been like family.
Joni has dedicated most of her life to serving the people of Waverly and surrounding areas, the stress of being on her feet all day took it's toll. Joni has neuropathy and diabetes. The pain of neuropathy alone has made working long hours a challenge. Her feet got too warm from all the labor and unfortunately the diabetes combined cost Joni a few toes. She kept on going after surgery, but the pain never went away. Now, facing the new diagnosis of cancer, which I'm sure all of us have had the disease unfortunately touch our lives in some way, has made it impossible to continue her career. Joni is working with a buyer currently, and is hopeful the new owners will keep Jonis as much a part of the community as it always has been.
A note from Joni: "I will miss each and everyone of my very loyal customers and my coworkers. Throughout all my years being a part of the Waverly community, I've learned so much from all of you and care deeply about each of you. I'm invested in your lives! We have shared so many stories together. I'm am forever grateful to have made the connections I have over the years and to have the people by my side helping me run the place. I was never very good at thanking people, because how could I ever say it enough for what they have done for me. So thanks baby!!"
I would also like to ask that all comments, cards etc be kept positive and respectful as this is meant to keep Joni in high spirits as she faces a tough road ahead. If you would like to send a card via the mail please send them to:
PO Box 95
Waverly ne 68462
Amanda Nannen [phone redacted].
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to message me with those also, at times I may not reply instantly but I will make every effort to respond as soon as I am able to.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart ♡
- Virg Stewart
- Charlotte Nedrow
- Jay & Evelyn Jacobsen
Organizer and beneficiary
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