Dr. Billy Collum

Dr. Billy Collum, left, shakes hands with Tony Green, past president of the Itawamba County Development Council, upon learning that he'd been selected to receive the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award last week. Collum practiced medicine in Fulton for nearly 60 years before retiring in 2012. 

The Itawamba County Development Council (ICDC) has recognized longtime Fulton physician Dr. Billy Collum with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, only the second the nonprofit organization has given out in recent history, was presented during the ICDC’s annual banquet, held last week at Yamato Hibachi & Sushi in Fulton. Collum, who attended under the pretense that his daughter was the event’s guest speaker, said the honor took him completely by surprise.

Collum practiced medicine in Fulton for more than 57 years. He opened his own clinic in 1955 and spent the next three decades running it. After “retiring” and shuttering his clinic, he took what he intended to be a stint at North Mississippi Medical Center’s Fulton clinic … a job he kept for 19 additional years.

He finally retired … for real this time … in 2012. He was 82.

It was Collum’s father, Dr. William Thomas Collum, who inspired him to become a physician. In 2012, Collum told The Times that he couldn’t remember a time when he wanted to be anything other than a physician.

“He was my idol,” he said of his father. “I’d help him out with his work a little bit. It was always my goal to be a doctor like him.”

Collum was born and raised in Fairview. He graduated Itawamba Agricultural High School in 1949 as valedictorian and class president. He received his bachelor’s of arts from the University of Mississippi and later graduated from Harvard as one of the youngest members of his class.

He and his wife, Barbara Jean, have 10 children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The ICDC Lifetime Achievement Award is given sporadically. The last award was presented to former Fulton mayor Jack Creely, now deceased, in 2015.

Businesses of the Year

The ICDC also used a portion of their banquet to present awards for both its small and large businesses of the year.

Riley Building Supplies, Inc. was named the organization’s Large Business of the Year; Mantachie-based L&L Screenprinting was presented with the Small Business of the Year award.

Riley’s has been around since the 1940s and has steadily grown to one of the county’s largest businesses. Still owned and operated by the Riley family, the company maintains two local storefronts, while helping supply the needs for construction projects throughout the area.

Son and mother co-owners Cory and Teresa Lindsey were forced to move their young business, L&L Screenprinting, after a 2017 tornado wiped out their original location. They have since reopened their business in Mantachie and have been steadily adding to their clientele.

The usual business

In addition to presenting their annual awards, the organizers of ICDC’s annual banquet also took time to highlight some of the organization’s successes from the past year and discuss plans for the future.

Jim McCullough, president of the ICDC board, said the organization values its partnerships with elected officials, businesses and other area nonprofits, and that it hopes to continue strengthening those relationships in the coming year.

McCullough briefly mentioned some the past year’s completed projects, including the publication of a new county map and promotional material for Fulton’s leg of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. He also touched on future plans, including the ICDC’s upcoming small business grant program.

“That’s something we’re extremely, extremely excited about,” McCullough said.

The ICDC president added that the organization exists to do “anything to help Itawamba County grow.”

adam.armour@journalinc.com Twitter: @admarmr

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