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MSU Extension award honors Lincoln County businessman

PHOTO SUBMITTED / A new endowment at Mississippi State University honors the life and work of Brookhaven resident Franklin Theodore Burns, pictured with his wife Catharine. The Franklin T. Burns Outstanding Extension Community Resource Development Award will provide a financial stipend to an outstanding professional with the MSU Extension Service.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / A new endowment at Mississippi State University honors the life and work of Brookhaven resident Franklin Theodore Burns, pictured with his wife Catharine. The Franklin T. Burns Outstanding Extension Community Resource Development Award will provide a financial stipend to an outstanding professional with the MSU Extension Service.

STARKVILLE – A new endowment at Mississippi State University honors the life and work of Brookhaven resident Franklin Theodore Burns.

Burns’ children, Jill Logan and Ted Burns, created the Franklin T. Burns Outstanding Extension Community Resource Development Award at MSU. The endowment will provide a financial stipend to an outstanding professional with the MSU Extension Service. The award will be presented at the Extension Annual Conference held each October on MSU’s Starkville campus.

Burns is well-known for his extensive involvement in his hometown. Since the 1950s, he has owned Brookhaven Nurseries. He took over the business from his father and mother, James Ele Burns and Lydia Jewel Nix Burns, who founded it in the 1930s.

Over the years, Burns has served as president of both the Mississippi Gladiolus Society and the Mississippi Nurseryman’s Association. He has been named Nurseryman of the Year twice and received the Brookhaven Exchange Club Golden Deeds Award. He is a recipient of National Exchange Club’s Golden Exchange Award for 50 years of service.

In addition, Burns has served in a variety of roles at First Baptist Church of Brookhaven and is a lifelong deacon. He is a veteran of World War II and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Texas.

Logan, dean of academic instruction at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and a resident of Brookhaven, said she and her brother will take pride in future award recipients.

“My father is a quiet, humble and generous man who has invested his life in his community,” Logan said. “He would be the first to say that there are others who are more deserving of this recognition. This award will help us recognize those who have worked tirelessly to contribute to their communities through this profession.”

Ted Burns also expressed the motivation behind the endowment.

“It is great to have this award established at Mississippi State as a salute to our father’s hard work and philanthropic spirit,” he said. “We celebrate that it is perpetual – this award will always carry his name.”

Ted Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business from MSU in 1978. He owns Ample Energy in Birmingham, Alabama.

Other contributors to the endowment include Logan’s daughter, Kelsey Logan of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati.

The fund remains open for additional contributions from donors who wish to honor Burns.

Recipients of the Franklin T. Burns Outstanding Extension Community Resource Development Award will be selected based on their contribution to the mission of the MSU Extension Service and strong connection to their respective communities. Preference will be given to individuals with ties to the nursery or landscaping industry.

For more information on contributing to the MSU Extension Service, contact Dees Britt, assistant director of development for the MSU Foundation, at dbritt@foundation.msstate.edu or 662-325-2837.