The Holmes Community College 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipient is Edward Hayes Branscome of Grenada. The award will be presented on Oct. 21 at this year's Homecoming Celebration held on the Goodman Campus.
A lifelong resident of Grenada, he was elected to serve on the Grenada Bank Board as a director in 1982. When it became Grenada Sunburst Bank, he served as a director, and as a member of the Executive Committee, the Loan Committee, the Trust Committee and the Audit Committee.
When Grenada Sunburst merged with Union Planters, Branscome served as a member of the board for the Grenada Region until 1997.
When James "Jimmy" Robertson passed away in 2012, Branscome became a trustee of Robertson's Trust. Robertson was a veteran banking executive from Grenada for over 45 years.
"Jimmy was a dedicated supporter of the Grenada community and instructed me to use a large portion of his remaining estate to help Holmes Community College," Branscome said.
On Sept. 15, 2014, the bank provided $205,600 through the sale of 20,000 shares of Regions Bank stock in order to establish the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Holmes. On April 22, 2015, the bank donated $100,000 to establish scholarships for the program and an additional $75,000 on Sept. 27, 2016, bringing donations to a total of $380,600 from Robertson's Trust.
"Holmes means so much to this community," Branscome said. "I am honored to have been a part of establishing the PTA program at Holmes, and so glad we were also able to create scholarships for the program so that interested students can pursue their career dreams."
Branscome earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Mississippi State University upon graduating from John Rundle High School. His agricultural degree served him well, as he was in the cattle and land business for a number of years. While studying at MSU, he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, Alpha Zeta honorary agricultural fraternity and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary leadership society. A class of '60 alumnus, he served as a member of the MSU Alumni Board from 1993-2015.
A member of the Grenada Rotary Club, Branscome formerly served as president and as district governor of Rotary International District 680. He was also recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow and in 1982, he organized the first Rotary Youth Leadership Conference, which is still held annually in District 680.
Additionally, Branscome is a past director of the Grenada County Chamber of Commerce, has served on the Trust and Investment Committee for the Delta Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and on the Executive Committee of Forward Grenada, Inc. He is an active member of Grace Baptist Church, as well.
"Mr. Branscome is a very generous man with a kind heart," said Meg King, director of the PTA program at Holmes. "I know him very well, as he and I were Grenada Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball King and Queen together in 2002. He understands the importance of providing a quality college education in Grenada and the positive impact it will have on individuals, families and the community.
"Mr. Branscome and I have had long discussions about the PTA program and how the scholarship can help change the trajectory of an entire family. We believe in the PTA program at Holmes and our PTA students. Mr. Branscome shares this vision and we are grateful for his service to Holmes Community College and to the Grenada community."
Branscome and his wife, Martha Faye, have two children: Beth McGaugh, CFO of Pinnacle Trust in Madison, and Brad Branscome, president of Guaranty Bank and Trust in Grenada. The Branscomes also have three grandchildren: Jonathan and Elizabeth Stevens, and Josh Branscome.