“I was completely surprised by the award. My family has been lying to me all week.”
-Judge Craig Johnson
Jeff Steers, editor
It is tough to pull the wool over the eyes of a circuit court judge with more than 20 years experience on the bench.
But the sons of Judge Craig Johnson pulled it off Thursday during the 43rd annual Manchester Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala held at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center.
Johnson was named as the 28th winner of the Wayne Bramblett Award. It is the highest award bestowed by the Chamber for an individual who exhibits vision and leadership, has demonstrated superior commitment and dedication, and has contributed tirelessly to advance Manchester, Coffee County and its place in Middle Tennessee with no regard for personal gain.
Bramblett had enthusiasm for Manchester and inspired people to want to pitch in.
Johnson said his two sons, Matt and Kyle, said he needed to be in attendance at the Gala to see Willowbrook Golf Course earn a tourism award.
“I was completely surprised by the award,” Johnson said after the presentation. “My family has been lying to me all week.”
Johnson served as the president of the Chamber 20 years ago. He retired as a colonel from the military and is a former commander of the 194th Engineer Brigade, Tennessee Army National Guard. Johnson was a member of the National Guard for more than 33 years and was deployed three times including Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He was also deployed to Europe in support of the global war on terrorism and the European Reassurance Initiative.
Johnson has been a circuit court judge in the 14th Judicial District since 1998, where he presides over criminal felony trials and civil jury trials.
Johnson said he remembers the work of Wayne Bramblett and respected his work with the community.
“I remember the World’s Largest Pajama Party and all he did in the community,” Johnson said. “I am humbled to be a recipient of the award.”
Willowbrook was presented a tourism and community development award at the gala. The golf course holds the TSSAA State Golf Tournament every fall that draws more than 300 golfers to the area.
Some other award winners included: Project WEB Partner of the Year – Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition; Ambassador of the Year – Misty Weaver; Chamber Board Member of the Year – Sherry Douglas; Kevin Sherrill was introduced as the incoming president of the Chamber; and the 2018 Manchester Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors was sworn in during the Gala.