Chamber Award: Citizen of the Year

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By Calen McKinney

This year's top Chamber of Commerce award winner spends his time coaching youth soccer, herding cattle and running a bank.

Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce Board member Fran Deener presented the Everette Lee Citizen of the Year award to Mark Johnson at the Chamber's annual banquet Thursday night.

Deener told the crowd that the award is one of the community's highest honors.

"Named for former Chamber and tourism leader and chief community cheerleader, Everette Lee, this award recognizes individuals who have given substantially of their time, talent and leadership to make our community a better place."

Johnson is president and CEO of Citizens Bank and Trust Co., chair of the Taylor County Economic Development Authority and the Campbellsville/Taylor County Industrial Foundation Inc. and is a nearly 20-year member of Campbellsville Christian Church.

He and his wife, Lateshia, who is a registered nurse at Taylor Regional Hospital, have two daughters, Lauren and Meredith.

"This year's recipient has demonstrated [his] commitment to community through their service to education, church, civic organizations and the community at large," Deener said.

She said Johnson had a very active childhood. For example, Deener said, Johnson cut down a neighbor's tree and helped another with some wiring work when he was only 11 years old.

Johnson graduated from the University of Kentucky and worked for Self-Insured Coal Producers.

He loves to spend time with his family, Deener said.

"When it is time to escape or just be by himself," she said with a laugh, "he goes to his tree house, which he built himself."

On Friday, Johnson said he was honored and humbled to receive the award.

"I am thankful that the good Lord has blessed me in the community here."

Johnson is involved with Campbellsville Youth Soccer and Upward Basketball and farms 225 acres of corn, beans, cattle and hay.

He said his schedule may keep him busy, but he has lots of support at home, Citizens Bank and at the various other community organizations to which he belongs.

"I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am now without these people," he said.

Also nominated for this year's award was former Campbellsville University Lady Tiger basketball coach Donna Wise and State Rep. Russ Mobley, R-Campbellsville.

Johnson said he knew he was nominated for the award, which he considered a huge honor in itself.

Johnson said he's also honored to be a recipient of the same award received by such community members as John Chowning, Dr. James Jones and Chuck Vaughn.

"Those are huge pillars of the community right there," Johnson said.

Former recipients of the Citizen of the Year Award were also recognized at Thursday's banquet.

"I can't say enough good things about those folks," Johnson said. "Those are very big shoes to fill and I'll try my best."

To Johnson, the Citizen of the Year Award means he needs to keep doing the hard work he has been.

"I'm very appreciative of the cooperative spirit of all of us who work within [the community]," he said.

"Properly motivated, there's nothing we can't do."

- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 235 or by e-mail at reporter@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.