General Sessions Judges Conference Honors Two Members for Outstanding Service

September 26, 2013

The Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference (TGSJC) presented the inaugural Judge Leon Ruben Awards in recognition of outstanding service and accomplishment by General Sessions judges.

Judge Thomas L. Moore, Jr. of Weakley County and Judge A. Ben Strand, Jr. of Jefferson County were the recipients. The awards were presented at the annual Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference on September 18, 2013 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The Judge Leon Ruben Award was named for Davidson County General Sessions Judge Leon Ruben, who passed away in 2011. The award is named in Judge Ruben’s honor due to his outstanding service to the General Sessions Judges Conference and in recognition of his outstanding integrity, love of the law, and his desire to seek justice.

Judge Dwight E. Stokes, of Sevier County, president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference, announced the award at the annual luncheon.

“This award is to honor Judge Ruben and to recognize that each year incredible service is provided to our state and to our communities through the work of general sessions judges, said Judge Stokes. “This year, it is a tremendous honor and thrill for me to present the initial Judge Ruben Awards on behalf of all of us as general sessions judges to two incredible judges— Judge Thomas L. Moore, Jr. and Judge A. Ben Strand, Jr. Both Judge Moore and Judge Strand have performed inspiring service for their respective communities and for our state through their work as general sessions judges.”

Judge Moore has served as president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference on two occasions, 1995-1996 and 2010- 2011. Judge Moore has been active on behalf of issues for the judicial system and was appointed secretary-treasurer for the conference in the aftermath of the untimely death of Judge Ruben.

Judge Moore serves as a deacon, pianist and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church of Dresden; has served his church in local, state and foreign missions; and is a member of the Tennessee Baptist Men’s Chorale and the David Johnson Singers.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Union University and an adjunct faculty member with the University of Tennessee at Martin in political science.

Judge Strand is a past president of the conference, having served in 2003-2004. Judge Strand is a regular speaker to the General Sessions Judges Conference, presenting an annual legislative update on laws considered or passed by the Tennessee legislature. Judge Strand has been particularly renowned for his serving other counties as a substitute judge, including work for Cocke County when the local judge was serving his country in Iraq.

Judge Strand has served as a deacon for many years at First Baptist Church of Dandridge, as well as serving in many other voluntary roles in the church. Judge Strand has provided great service to the youth at Mountain View Youth Development Center and the Jefferson County High School Mock Court Team. Judge Strand is an adjunct faculty member with Carson-Newman University and is a devoted husband and father. Judge Strand was named the winner of the McCann-Abernathy Memorial Award as the Outstanding Juvenile Judge for 2009.

“Judge Moore and Judge Strand have simply been wonderful representatives and ambassadors of the General Sessions Judges Conference in their respective communities and to the entire state of Tennessee,” said Judge Stokes. “I am certain that Judge Ruben would be extremely proud of having these outstanding judges, both of which he knew well, as the first winners of the award named in his honor.”

The awards dinner was attended by Judge Ruben’s daughter, Melinda Bimstein, along with her husband, Ronnie Bimstein.

Judge A. Ben Strand, Jr., of Jefferson County, and Judge Thomas L. Moore, Jr., of Weakley County, receive the Judge Leon Ruben Awards. Judge Dwight E. Stokes, of Sevier County, (background) makes the presentation, while the recipients are pictured with Judge Ruben's daughter, Melinda Bimstein.