Skip to content

Retired Board Member Honored With Monument In Celebration Plaza



SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - Recently retired Celebration board member Virgil Johnson was honored Monday night when a granite monument in his honor was unveiled in the The Celebration Plaza.

“Others may have worked as hard, but none harder than Virgil,” said Celebration CEO Ron Thomas. “His enthusiasm for seeing projects through when he was chairman of the building committee was incredible.”

Johnson was a member of the Celebration Board of Directors from 1993 until his retirement in 2002. Johnson moved to Shelbyville with the Josten's Corporation. He spent 36 years with that company before retiring in 1996.

“I’m completely humbled and honored by this gesture from the Celebration,” responded Johnson. “It was terrific to be part of a winning team and the bond I've built with the Celebration, the board and the staff is something I’ll remember forever.”

Johnson first became involved with the Celebration after becoming a member of the Shelbyville Optimist Club in 1963. One of his duties as a club member was to work in the Optimist Donut Booth. From that point on he was hooked.

During his tenure on the board, Johnson oversaw several major projects including the barn renovation project and the building of the Celebration Plaza.

“No equine facility in America has something like this (Plaza),” said Thomas. “It was Virgil's vision that made it come to life.”

The wording on the monument reads as follows: “The Celebration Plaza is dedicated in honor of Virgil Johnson, Celebration Board of Directors (1993-2002). His vision and determination to beautify and improve the Celebration Grounds will be his legacy.”

“Virgil was completely hands-on when it came to the barn project,” joked current board chairman Pat Marsh. “During the construction phase, Virgil was on the Grounds every day with a hammer in his hand checking the progress of the crews. You always hope to have people with his dedication. You just don't always get it.”

Following the unveiling of the monument, the Johnsons were hosted by the Celebration board of directors with a dinner in their honor at Calsonic Arena, where they presented the couple with several gifts of appreciation and a resolution marking Johnson's retirement from the board.

Johnson continues to recover from knee replacement surgery with the help of his wife, Pat. The accomplishments of which the couple are most proud are their four children and ten grandchildren.

More Stories

  • Obituary – Dianne Green

    Mrs. Sara Dianne Green, age 68, of Shelbyville, passed away Wednesday, November 25, 2020... Read More
  • KWHA postpones annual banquet and meetings

    On November 23, 2020, the Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA) Board of Director’s met and voted to postpone the annual banquet, dinner, and general meeting that was originally scheduled for January 8-9, 2021 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington, Kentucky.  Read More
  • Obituary – Elizabeth Gassaway

    Funeral services for Elizabeth Marie Hestle Gassaway, age 48, of the Wheel Community, will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, at Edgemont Baptist Church with Pastor Steve Murphree officiating and Laurie Toone speaking. Burial will follow at Jones Cemetery. Elizabeth passed from this life Thursday, November 26, 2020, at home surrounded by her loving family. Read More
  • Latest Issue 11 23 20

    Read More
  • Cyndi McConnell hospitalized

    The Report has recently learned that Cyndi McConnell has been in the hospital following a surgery to repair blockage in her heart. She has had two stints put in her main artery that was blocked 99%... Read More
  • Obituary – Michael Scott “Mike” May

    Michael Scott “Mike” May, age 79, of Shelbyville, formally of DeLand, Florida passed from this life Monday, November 16, 2020, at NHC of Tullahoma after an extended illness... Read More
  • Latest Issue 11 16 20

    Read More
  • Obituary – Melton Oran

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Melton Oran. Mr. Oran was a long time member of the ETWHA and the husband of Latitha Oran.  Read More
  • WHOA announces nominations for Board of Directors

    The Nominating Committee of the Walking Horse Owners' Association has nominated the following people for the Board of Directors for a 3 year term... Read More
  • Obituary – Deborah Williams

    The family of Deborah Williams appreciates the expression of sympathy from the Tennessee Walking Horse family. Due to Covid-19, there will be no memorial service at this time. We will provide you with an obituary for publication when it becomes available. Read More