Spain, Cranes honored by CREATE for philanthropy

TUPELO – After hearing her name called as a recipient of the McLean Award for Philanthropy, Jane Spain had to take a few moments to get over the shock.
“Obviously I’m overwhelmed,” said Spain, who accepted the award that was given to her and her late husband, Frank, who died in 2006.
Frank was the legendary television pioneer who founded WTVA in 1957 in Tupelo.
The Spains, along with the Crane family of Fulton, won the McLean Awards, given Thursday night at the CREATE Foundation’s annual fall summit.
“This is really about Frank,” said Jane. “He was an extraordinary man … and I had the benefit of going along for the ride, and he gave me a chance to drive sometimes.”
Johnny and Bessie Crane accepted the McLean award on behalf of the Crane family – a great many of whom attended the dinner.
“When I saw the children and grandchildren, I knew something was going on,” Johnny Crane said.
The Cranes’ family business, F.L. Crane & Sons, is one of the largest specialty contractors in the Southeast.
Both the Spains and Cranes were acclaimed for sharing their success.
“I think it’s fantastic to have a great number of people in Northeast Mississippi that have made such big contributions to their communities, not that any are seeking recognition for what they’ve done,” said CREATE President Mike Clayborne. “These are people who have been fortunate and are giving back in extraordinary ways.”
Said Johnny Crane, “It’s important to give back to the community that’s given so much for you.”
Jane Spain said her husband never did anything simply for financial gain.
“Truthfully, it mattered very little,” she said. “But to have the opportunity to serve and give back to the community he loved – it was from the heart.”
Two other awards were handed out Thursday:
n The 2010 Regional Community Partner Award, presented by CREATE’s Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, went to The Gilmore Foundation in Amory.
n The inaugural James Hugh Ray Community Affiliate Award went to CARE, the Corinth-Alcorn Reaching for Excellence.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal