Holmes taps Belk Alumnus of the Year

Holmes taps Belk Alumnus of the Year The Holmes Community College 2016 Alumnus of the Year recipient is Johnny A. "Bit" Belk (Class of '58). The award will be presented on Oct. 29 at this year's Homecoming Celebration held on the Goodman Campus.

When asked what his favorite memory at Holmes was, Belk replied, "My most memorable memories at HCC were the jukebox in the Canteen playing all the 1950's hits, the football games, and the many friends I made there that are still some of my best friends today."

Belk, always speaking fondly of his beloved Holmes, noted that, "The instructors were always very dedicated to their profession and concerned for their students' well-being. They did a nice job preparing us all for the next level of education and the next phases in our lives."

A 1956 graduate of Ethel High School, Belk completed his degree at Holmes before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi. He served as a member of the Mississippi National Guard from 1959-66, and in the midst of his service, earned his bachelor's degree from Southern Miss in 1962. Since his days of being a dedicated college student, Belk has continued to serve in leadership roles, both in his career and in the community.

Belk worked for the Chevron Corporation for 30 years, holding a number of positions in various locations across the country. He worked as a construction accountant in the Pascagoula Refinery, the manager of financial accounting in Louisville, Kentucky, and as the general manager of marketing accounting in San Francisco, California. In 1998, the Chevron Corporation and Chevron Retirees Association awarded him the Most Outstanding Public Service Award.

Although his career took him all over the United States, Belk was happy to return to and retire in Mississippi. Since his return to the Magnolia State, he has served as a member of the State Workforce Development Council, commissioner of Attala Soil and Water Conservation District, president of Ethel High School Alumni Association, and secretary-treasurer of Tabernacle Cemetery Commission. He also served as the chief of Providence Volunteer Fire Department for 11 years.

For his alma mater, Belk has served as chairman of the Holmes Workforce Development Council, as a member of the Holmes Development Foundation Board of Governors and Directors, and as president of the Holmes Alumni Association.

Not only did Holmes present him with the 1997 Special Service Award, he has also received the 2011 Distinguished Service Award and the Alumni Association Appreciation Award.

He and his wife of over 54 years, Elizabeth Kimbell Belk, reside in their hometown Ethel. They have two children: daughter Kim Belk Libroth of Tallahassee, Florida, and son Jeffrey Belk of Vancleave. Kim and her husband Andre have a son, Steven, and Jeffery and his wife Cindy have four children: Savannah, David, Colin, and Andrew.

Belk and his wife are active members of Tabernacle United Methodist Church, where he is a Charge Lay Leader and Sunday school teacher.