Soon after lifelong Stratford resident Johnny Mann’s retirement from his 28 years of elected service as a Garvin County commissioner in December 2018, the board of directors of the Oklahoma Heritage Bank began recruiting him to serve on the bank’s Board. After several months of service as an OHB advisory director (and his observation of monthly OHB board meetings and participation in board activities), Johnny agreed to accept election as a full-fledged director at the August 2019 board meeting.
Chairman of the Board Darryl Fisher describes Johnny’s forebears as true Garvin County pioneers, with his direct ancestors being known for at least seven generations in the Stratford area. Fisher’s nomination of Johnny to the OHB board described the proactive and engaged style of Johnny’s 36 years’ municipal government service with the county and state, including his 28 consecutive years as a Garvin County commissioner.
“Johnny was commissioner every day and night, always available to his constituents, and as a result he knows as friends almost everyone and their extended families in and around Stratford, as well as in the state beyond Garvin County,” Fisher said.
At his election to the OHB board, Johnny spoke of his personal relationships in the innumerable Oklahoma communities he served for nearly three decades.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity with Oklahoma Heritage to continue working with and helping the great people of Oklahoma, just as OHB’s staff, directors and officers have been doing for over forty years as the committed hometown bank it has always been,” he said.
During his 18 years’ tenure on the Oklahoma Association of County Commissioners (two years as secretary-treasurer), Johnny met even more Oklahomans, establishing friendships with residents and county leaders in his jurisdiction within the association that included McClain, Murray, Payne, Logan, Cleveland, Oklahoma, in addition to Garvin, counties. Mann also served as president of the Oklahoma County Officers and Deputies Association, director of the Oklahoma Association of County Commissioners, member of the District #5 Circuit Engineering Board and chairman of the Board of Garvin County Commissioners, as well as a member of the Garvin County Tax Roll Corrections Board, the Garvin County Health Department Board of Health, the Garvin County Finance Authority, the Southern Oklahoma Development Association and the Delta Community Action Foundation Inc.
Through his experience with and knowledge of the workings of state and county governments and his widespread relationships with many state legislators, Johnny was able to secure millions of dollars in construction contracts with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Chickasaw Nation for Garvin County District #3. He also played an active role in passing the first sales tax for the renovation of the Garvin County Courthouse.
Mann took a leadership presence in securing and bringing the Walmart distribution warehouse facility to Pauls Valley. Johnny’s efforts on behalf of the senior citizens’ boards of Wynnewood and Stratford brought about new senior citizen facilities in these communities.
Johnny served as a member of the Stratford Volunteer Fire Department for 25 years (many as fire chief). He is a third-generation Stratford volunteer fireman, his dad and grandfather also being Stratford firemen. Johnny’s son Shawn currently serves as a Stratford volunteer firefighter. His grandfather helped build the first fire truck in Stratford, working out of his metal-working shop in the early years of Stratford. Similarly, Johnny’s assistance to the volunteer fire departments in Wynnewood and Walker led to new firefighting equipment there.
Mann has received numerous awards and civic honors; among many are those from Wynnewood, Stratford, Walker and Pauls Valley and include accolades from the Delta Community Action Foundation.
Johnny’s children include Shawn and wife, Dianne Mann (Stratford); son John and wife, Lacy Mann (Sulphur); and daughter Melissa and husband, Wes Hilliard (Sulphur).
Johnny’s wife, Gina, served as the Garvin County clerk for 26 years, retiring in 2011 and remaining as a longtime-serving elected Stratford town trustee. Gina describes Johnny’s post-retirement daily activities now as “farming, caring for and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle (Street Glide) and chasing after one and all of the seven grandkids!”