Dr. Johnny Long chosen to receive ‘Healing Hands Award’

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 10, 2013

Dr. Johnny Long, director of bands emeritus at Troy University, has been chosen to receive the ASF Foundation’s Healing Hands award, which is the highest award the Foundation offers.

Dr. Long

Dr. Long

The Healing Hands Award is recognition of unique actions taken by individuals to promote the concept of healing grace, comfort and inspiration to others or of motivating others to great achievement.

In true Dr. Johnny Long fashion, he quickly turned the recognition from himself to others.

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“I greatly appreciate this award and this recognition but I don’t know why I was chosen. There are many who are more deserving than, I am,” he said.

However, the award’s recognition of those who motivate others to great achievement is tailor made for Long. His goal as an educator is, and has been, to motivate and inspire his students to achieve their goals.

As a teacher, Long said that he taught his students all he knew and then let them take it from there.

“If students only learn what their teachers know, then we would go back to the Stone Age,” he said. “What I have always tried to do is create a spark in my students so that they would want to excel. Students have to be motivated to set goals and be inspired to reach them.

“I learned so much from my students who were brighter and more talented than I am. What could I teach them? They knew more than I did. All I could do was motivate them to do the things they were capable of doing, to do what they wanted to do and be what they wanted to be. If I did a good job of that, then that is my reward.”

Long said that his greatest thrill comes from seeing his students grow in knowledge and excel in life.

“Right now, two of my boys are president of state bandmaster associations and several of my students have received teacher of the year awards,” Long said. “My goal has always been to see my students excel. That’s what it’s all about. Not me.”

Long credits his mother as the one who motivated and inspired him to excel and his list of achievements is long and storied.

He has dedicated his life to service and has been a leader in the Troy community for years. He has served as president of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, the Troy City Board of Education and the Troy Rotary Club. He is a past commander of VFW Post 96 in Montgomery.

Long is an Eagle Scout, which he said is one of his most distinguished achievements. He has been a strong supporter of the local Boy Scout troops. He served as the director of the Southeast Alabama Community Band until he stepped down this year.

Long has served Troy University as director of the famed “South of the South Marching Band,” as the dean of the School of Fine Arts and as the distinguished professor of music emeritus. He is a past president of the American Band Masters Association, honorary president of the National Band Association and an honorary life member of the American Band Masters Association.

Long is an inductee into the National Band Association’s Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors.

In 2012, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. presented Long with the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award as one of the top 10 teachers in the nation.

Two buildings on the Troy University campus are named for Long.

Of all his achievements, Long said his greatest is his marriage of 62 years to Mary Lynn.

The presentation ceremony for The Healing Hands Award will take place at 7 p.m. June 21 at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham during the ASF Foundation Opening Ceremonies XXXI on Alabama Public Television stations statewide.