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Garrett humbled by honor

Johnny Garrett grins when he’s called an old-fashioned father. He kind of likes the idea of that. He’s just following in the footsteps of his dad and his grandfather who worked right along side their children in the fields – stacking peanuts, hoeing cotton and pulling corn.

Garrett, who owns and operates the Piggly Wiggly in Troy, is glad that he and his children are working the produce inside the supermarket instead of in the fields. And, he’s as proud as punch that his children are working right along side him just like he worked with his dad.

Garrett was honored as the Pike County Cattlewomen’s 2009 Father of the Year at the Cattlewomen’s annual Father’s Day cookout at Jewel Griffin’s farm.

“I don’t know of anyone who is more deserving of the Father of the Year honor,” said Betty Hixon, Cattlewomen president. “Johnny is a morally upright man and a wonderful father. He loves his children and everyone knows he does. The Garretts work together in the family-owned business so he’s both father and employer to most of them. Johnny is a good manager and a good businessman. He is also one of us. He’s a cattleman and the president of our Pike County Cattlemen’s Association. We are proud to honor him as our Pike County Cattlewomen’s 2009 Father of the Year.”

Garrett said the recognition means a lot to him and he was honored and humbled by it. “My family is very important to me and this recognition is especially meaningful because it comes from the Pike County Cattlewomen,” he said. “We’ve all known each other for a long time. They are a special group of women.”

Garrett and his wife, Patricia, have three children and eight grandchildren, and Garrett said he loves each and every one of them the same. “I’ve tried to take good care of them and teach them about life,” he said. “Life is not always easy. But if you are dedicated and will work hard, it will pay off in the long run.”

Garrett grew on a farm, and that’s where he developed his strong work ethic and learned the value of putting in a hard day’s work every day. He also learned about teamwork and weathering disappointments.

“When you work together as a family, you build a strong bond,” he said. “We all work together, and we also spend time away from work together – and we enjoy it.

Garrett’s wife works with him at the Troy store. His son, Steve is the store manager and his wife, Jennifer, also works at the Troy store. Garrett’s daughter, Denise Taylor runs the Pig Café and the catering service. His older son, Stanley, and his wife, Jennifer, own and operate the Brundidge Piggly Wiggly. Stanley worked for his dad before buying the Brundidge Store.

Two of Garrett’s grandsons, Adams Garrett and Josh Taylor, work at the “Pigs.”

“Our children all grew up in the grocery business and I didn’t encourage any of them to stay in it, but that’s what they’ve chosen,” Garrett said. “I guess it just came natural to them … and I like having them around. We all get along good and work things out together. Some people say you don’t want to go in business with your family but it has worked good for us.”

Garrett spends a lot of time at work, and there have been times when he thought he might spend too much time at work.

“But I enjoy doing things with my family outside of work,” he said. “I hunt and fish a little with the boys, and we go on vacations together sometimes. Last year, we all went to Disney World and really enjoyed that.”

Garrett would be glad to share the Father of the Year award with his dad, who was his role model.

“I learned about being a father working beside him,” Garrett said. “He taught me to live a clean and honest life and work hard for what you want. I’ve tried my best to do that.”