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Hollis, Graham receive

Brundidge business award

By JAINE TREADWELL

Features Editor

Feb. 21, 2000 10 PM

"When you want to gloat, call me and we’ll gloat together," Jimmy Hollis, joked with Cookie Graham.

But anyone who knows Hollis and Graham, also knows there will be no gloating by the Brundidge Business Associations’ Man and Woman of the Year. Both are longtime community servants and have given unselfishly of their time and talents with no thoughts of personal recognition or gain.

Whether they are out front leading the way or working behind the scenes, the commitment is the same, said Delatha Mobley, BBA member and presenter of the awards. Hollis and Graham continually work for the betterment of their town and proudly call Brundidge home.

Both own and operate businesses in Brundidge. Hollis Furniture Company and Cookie’s Bookkeeping Service are located on Main Street and their owners find time to be a part of whatever is going on in the community.

Although, Graham grew up in the Tennille community, she considers Brundidge her hometown, "because it is."

"Some people don’t realize that Brundidge is made up of several communities," she said."We’re all close in location and close in caring."

According to her friends, it’s not easy to pull anything over on Graham, but the BBA pulled over a big one when Cookie Graham’s name was called as the woman of the year.

When she realized her name was about to be called, tears streamed down Graham’s face but they couldn’t wash away the bright smile that is her trademark.

"I was shocked. I was surprised. I was so proud," Graham said. "I love Brundidge with all my heart and to think that the people I love, thought enough of me to bestow this honor on me. It’s just a wonderful feeling – I don’t know how to express it. I’m just so proud."

Graham is a member of the BBA, the Brundidge Rotary Club, the Brundidge TSU Alumni Chapter and the SouthSide Shufflers line dance team. She is also a member of Springfield Baptist Church where she teaches a Sunday school class.

She said each affiliation offers different opportunities for service and for friendship.

"The BBA is concerned mainly with the Brundidge business community while Rotary reaches out all over the world. The TSU alumni club gives us an opportunity to support our university and be a part of the many wonderful things going on at Troy State. The SouthSide Shufflers are ambassadors for Brundidge. Everywhere we go, we tell people what a wonderful town Brundidge is."

And what makes Brundidge such a great place to live is its people.

"I know everybody probably says that about their hometown but Brundidge is a special place with very special people," Graham said. "There is a closeness here that you don’t find everywhere. People really care about each other – and it shows."

Graham can’t hide her enthusiasm for her hometown and her outlook on life is bright – and contagious.

"I like to see people happy," she said. "I always try to have a smile on my face because a smile usually gets one in return. If I can put a smile on just one person’s face a day, that’s a blessing to me."

And, if Graham is known for her good deeds and as a community cheerleader, Hollis is known for his loyalty and commitment to Brundidge and he has dedicated much of his life to making it a better place to live and work.

Hollis was one of the first members of the Brundidge Rescue Squad which served Brundidge and the surrounding area so dependably for 25 years. He was instrumental in the organization of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and has served on the city’s industrial board and council. He has served as the president of the BBA and has been honored before as its man of the year. As a member of the BBA, Hollis has worked extensively with the annual Arts and Crafts Show and the Independence Day Parade. His idea to use Brundidge’s naturally fluorinated water as a means of attracting tourist to town, is central to the newly proposed city park.

Hollis is a member of Brundidge United Methodist Church where he has served in many capacities. He is currently chairperson of the finance committee.

As grateful as Hollis is of the award presented to him, he graciously gives the credit for anything he has done to others.

"I appreciate those who voted for me but, if I have achieved anything, it is because someone else did the work and I got credit for it," he said. "I haven’t single handedly done anything. Often, it’s like that. The chairperson gets the credit but the committee does the work."

Hollis believes in unity and in pulling together. They are necessary if good things are going to happen in a community.

"One of the things that I was involved in that I am very proud of is the Pike County Chamber of Commerce," he said. "I believe in unity in the county and combining the Troy and Brundidge chambers of commerce brought us together, The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has been good for all of us."

Looking back on his years of service, Hollis believes, too, that the Brundidge Rescue Squad provided a much needed service for a quarter of a century. He was the charter captain of the squad and served from "genesis to revelation." The rewards of those years of service were many and the thousands of hours he gave, he did so gladly.

Hollis serves as secretary and treasurer of the Brundidge Industrial Board and recently turned the gavel of the BBA over to Gary Hester. He is a member of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce but "it’s working well without my help."

He devotes much of his time to his church where he "sits" in the choir – "it’s debatable what comes out" – and is a dedicated member of the Agape Sunday school class.

Hollis is married to the former Daisy Ingram and said he became involved in the furniture business after their first date in 1959.

Her dad, the late Foy Ingram, owed Brundidge Furniture and he asked Hollis to pick up a load of furniture for him "and I’ve been picking up furniture ever since."

Hollis was a partner in the furniture store until 1989 when he bought sole interest. In 1990, he and his son David opened a store in Troy and changed the name to Hollis Furniture.

Hollis has four children and three grandchildren. His grandpa "volunteer" services take precedent over most anything else these days.