Milwaukee veteran joins Vice President Biden's cancer task force

Posted at 7:14 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 20:26:06-05

MILWAUKEE -- Military veteran Johnny Simmons served his country in the Wisconsin National Guard for 23 years. Now he's been asked to assist Vice President Joe Biden in the fight against cancer.

"Just like we put a man on the moon," Simmons said.

"We're going to figure out a cure [for cancer]. We may not know how, we may not have the resources or the path, but we're Americans, we can figure out a way," he continued.

Achieving a set goal is something Simmons said he does well. Just a year ago, he retired from the Wisconsin National Guard, and found himself unemployed. Today, he has a job at GE Healthcare World Headquarters in Milwaukee, and a seat at the Vice President's Cancer Moonshot task force table.

"I love it. I love the job," Simmons said. "I love the fact that I can be a force for the veterans and actually do something to make a difference."

Making a difference in the realm of cancer means so much to him because he had his own bout with cancer. Diagnosed in 2011, it was GE equipment that helped doctors detect his illness when Simmons visited the hospital after a car accident.

"I'm lucky. I was fortunate enough to have the accident and [doctors] found it," he said.

"If they didn't, I don't know if I would be here today," Simmons continued.

Simmons said his trip to the White House Wednesday coupled with his battle with cancer and military service have all served him well --so much so, he was gifted with a symbol of excellence from Vice President Biden.