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Toolbox raffle to benefit widow of recently-deceased mechanic

Jay Johnson’s tool collection will not go to waste

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (November 12, 2020) – The tools in Jay Johnson’s toolbox have helped fix hundreds of cars, and put many car owners’ minds at ease. Now, Fine Tune Auto Service is hoping his tools can help ease the financial burden that Johnson’s death has placed on his wife, Danylle.

Jay Johnson

Jay Johnson passed away on April 7, 2020, after a multi-year battle with cancer. He had worked at Fine Tune Auto Service in Lansing for about three years, where he served as a technician.

Jay Johnson
Jay Johnson (left) with his wife Danylle. Jay passed away in April of this year. More photos of the couple can be seen here. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

“He was just one of those guys that would be at work every day on time, working as hard as he could,” said Fine Tune Auto Service owner Jason Brennan. “He would do a lot of things to help people. He was a great technician, a great person.”

Jay Johnson
Jay and Danylle were married in February of this year. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

Shortly after Brennan hired Johnson a few years ago, Johnson mentioned his then fiancée Danylle had customer service skills and was looking for a new opportunity. Danylle is currently the service manager for the auto shop, and married Johnson in February of this year.

“Even though he had health issues, he would be at work as much as he could. He was just a super hard working guy,” Brennan said.

According to a GoFundMe page for Johnson’s medical expenses set up by Danylle, Johnson was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer that spread to his liver in May of 2018. He completed 12 rounds of chemotherapy, nearly 60 sessions of radiation, and 23 surgeries, according to the website.

A meaningful raffle

The idea to use Johnson’s toolbox as a way to raise funds was Brennan’s. He said Danylle approached him and asked advice on what to do with Johnson’s toolbox, and Brennan suggested using it as a way to raise money to offset medical and funeral expenses. He thought selling it outright would raise less money than a raffle, and a raffle would allow people who might not otherwise be able to afford an expensive toolset to have a chance at winning it.

Though he only worked at Fine Tune Auto for about three years, Johnson’s robust collection of quality tools spans much longer than that. When purchased new, the toolbox alone was worth $17,000, according to the Fine Tune Auto Service webpage explaining the raffle. Brennan said the cost of the toolbox and tools, when purchased new, would likely have been valued around $50,000.

Jay Johnson
Johnson’s Snap-on toolbox sold new for $17,000. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

“It’s really a top of the line Snap-on toolbox. … It’s pretty much one of the best ones you can get and all the tools in it are the best you can buy. It’s a journeyman-level technician toolbox to where, if somebody were to get that toolbox full of tools, they wouldn’t have many more tools they’d have to buy,” Brennan said.

Jay Johnson
The raffle drawing for Johnson’s tools and toolbox will take place on December 18 at 5:45 p.m. at Fine Tune Auto Service. More photos of the tools in the toolbox can be seen here. (Photo from Fine Tune Auto website)

The raffle drawing will take place on December 18 at 5:45 p.m. at Fine Tune Auto Service. Tickets are available to purchase on Paypal, where one ticket is $20 and six tickets is $100. If less than 1,000 raffle tickets have been sold by the date of the drawing, the drawing will likely be delayed to make sure enough tickets are sold to lift Danylle’s financial burdens.

“The fundraiser is mainly to help Danylle pay for expenses for health and funeral costs, but also, we decided to do 5% toward the [American] Cancer Society because Danylle thought that’s what Jay would have wanted, to help anyone in that kind of situation,” Brennan said.

Visit Fine Tune Auto’s website to purchase raffle tickets, or call Fine Tune Auto at 708-418-5000 with any questions. Fine Tune Auto Service is located at 17546 Chicago Avenue, Lansing, IL.

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.