Johnstown resident Lee Wright says there are others more deserving of being named "Senior Citizen of the Year," but he appreciates the honor given to him by American Legion Post 254 and the Fourth of July Committee.

Johnstown resident Lee Wright says there are others more deserving of being named "Senior Citizen of the Year," but he appreciates the honor given to him by American Legion Post 254 and the Fourth of July Committee.

Wright will be recognized during a program scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 4, at the football stadium.

"It was very nice to be named Senior Citizen of the Year," he said. "I appreciate it very much."

Wright, 76, retired in 1987 from Sprint, where he worked for 36 years. He and friend Dick Johnson opened Wright Car Wash on U.S. Route 62 in 1973. Wright bought out Johnson in 1985, and later sold the business to his son, Tim Wright.

An avid Johnnies and Ohio State Buckeye fan, Wright was born south of Columbus and moved with his family to Croton when he was in the fourth grade.

In the sixth grade, Wright moved to Johnstown, and he graduated from Johnstown High School in 1949.

He and his wife Joann will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary in November. They are the parents of Janet (Randy) Kelly; Jodi (Jerry) McKnight; Judy (Mike) Shull; Tim (Angie) Wright; Jill (Don) Harvey; and Jackie (Jerry) Cannon, all of the Johnstown area.

The couple has 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Wright was a volunteer with the Johnstown Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years. He served as a member of the Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education from 1979 to 1988.

The Wrights enjoy attending all the sporting events in Johnstown.

"I also enjoy flower gardening and trains," Wright said.

Wright has an impressive collection of toy cars and a train track that meanders through his meticulously landscaped backyard, featuring a pond Wright built himself.

"There's a national toy show in Iowa that I attend every other year with friends," he said. "I got hooked."

The couple enjoys winters at Fort Myers Beach, Fla., though they spend most of their time at their Edwards Road where they have resided since 1954.

The Wrights are members of Johnstown's Church of the Ascension.

"He and his wife have always supported the American Legion with Toys for Tots and the egg hunt," said Don Jakeway, commander of Post 254. "He's at all the athletic events."

In addition to Wright, James Foster will be honored July 4 as "Legionnaire of the Year."

Foster, the legion's adjunct, graduated in 1942 from Johnstown. He's retired from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Jim and his wife, Irene, recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a family retreat at Lake Hope in Vinton County. They are the parents of four children: Rilla Foster of Ft. Wright, Ky.; Janice (Bill) Miller of Orestone, Colo.; Tim (Teresa) Foster of Springfield; and Carol (Ken) Young of Columbia, S.C.

The Fosters have seven grandchildren.

The recognition program at the football stadium will also feature musical entertainment, according to Jakeway.

The fireworks show by Hamburg Fireworks Factory of Lancaster will begin at dusk.

In case of rain, the fireworks will be postponed to July 5.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com