A bridge over the Duck River on Simms Road, west of Shelbyville, has been named for the late county mayor, county commissioner, and educator Jimmy Woodson. An unveiling and dedication ceremony was held Wednesday, May 31.
Woodson, who died in 2021, served two terms as county mayor, from 1998 through 2006. (The name of the position was changed from “county executive” to “county mayor” midway through his tenure, so he served his first term as executive and his second term as mayor.) He served as a county commissioner from 1984 through 1990 and again from 2006 through 2018. His career in education included 12 years as principal of East Side Elementary School, as well as a post-retirement turn as a school bus driver.
Woodson served on numerous boards and committees in the community.
During the last few years of his tenure on the Bedford County Board of Commissioners, and even after that as a member of the Bedford County Planning Commission, he was fighting ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a degenerative neurological condition that affects the ability to use the muscles. He attended commission meetings in a wheelchair with the assistance of his wife Charlene. County Mayor Chad Graham praised Woodson’s example of courage and persistence in a situation where many would have chosen to give up outside responsibilities. County Commissioner Greg Vick praised Charlene Woodson’s willingness to make her husband’s continued service possible.
Graham noted that when he first became director of Bedford County Emergency Medical Services, Woodson was a member of the BCEMS board.
Commissioner Troy Thompson recalled being an employee of the previous county executive when Woodson was elected and being grateful that Woodson kept him on in that role even after being advised to “clean house” and hire his own staff.
“You’ve never done anything to me,” Woodson told Thompson, “And I wouldn’t do that to you.”
Woodson’s hobbies included motorcycling and traveling with Charlene to see a variety of professional baseball games at ballparks throughout the country.
Large group photo after unveiling, from left: Commissioner Scott Johnson; Sheriff Austin Swing; Commissioners Sylvia Pinson and Troy Thompson; Woodson’s granddaughter Katie Daugherty; Woodson’s widow Charlene Woodson; daughter and son-in-law Melody and Jamie Redd; County Mayor Chad Graham; and Commissioner Greg Vick.