By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Small-town roots aren’t a detriment to success, as demonstrated by the likes of BNA Bank and Mickey Holliman.
The New Albany-based bank and the cofounder of Lane Furniture Industries, along with his wife, Babs, were recipients of the McLean Awards for Philanthropy at Thursday’s annual CREATE Foundation fall summit.
Founded in 1896, BNA Bank has grown into a $420 million financial institution with three offices in its hometown, another in Myrtle and one in Tupelo.
“We’re just honored by this award,” said President and CEO James “Bo” Collins. “We have a great board, great employees, all of whom believe in giving back to the communities we serve.”
Bank employees, from the upper management levels on down, volunteer for countless events and serve on various boards. BNA sponsors scores of events as well.
Vance Witt, the bank’s chairman, said the bank’s 100 employees were much like a family, all willing to help each other and their fellow citizens.
And helping others is nothing new for the Hollimans, longtime contributors and volunteers in Tupelo and Northeast Mississippi.
Mickey Holliman was born in Shuqualak, and cofounded Action Furniture Industries with Bo Bland in 1970, and the company later became Lane. It then grew into one of the largest motion furniture companies in the world. It was later acquired by Furniture Brands International, and Holliman would later become CEO of the company. He retired in 2008.
“I’m just a country boy from a small town in Mississippi,” he said Thursday after the awards ceremony.
“We’re humbled by this. … the communities have been so good to us, as we built factories in Pontotoc, Saltillo, Belden, Verona. It’s a heartfelt feeling we have in giving back.”
Said Babs Holliman, “This is very humbling; there are so many other people that should be up here.”
“I just like to work toward making life easier for other people.”
The James Hugh Ray Community Affiliate Award went to the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow, or LOFT.