“Every town has to have a go-to guy, somebody who can make things happen when they believe in it,” Duane Bullard was telling me as we toured Ripley, MS. He went on, “In our town that person is Bobby Martin who runs The People’s Bank here in town.”
I had heard a great deal about Mr. Martin from Todd Thoman and Mike Mumm from our office who have each made several trips to Ripley as we were finalizing the purchase of the BenchCraft buildings. They’d obviously heard even more about him, because they each referred to him as The Legendary Bobby Martin.
Duane told me numerous stories of projects that happened in Ripley because of the community focus of a person like Bobby Martin. One of the best was, “We had an opportunity to get some state and federal funding to be able to build our math and science facility at the high school. But, they told us that we had seven days to raise a matching $500,000. Bobby agreed to loan $1,000 at zero interest to anyone who would make a pledge of $1,000. We got 142 people to sign up for that and then the bank matched their $1,000 which put us at almost $300,000. We ended up raising the money in only five days but it wouldn’t have happened without Bobby’s efforts. Today we’ve got a wonderful math and science facility because of those efforts.”
I was thrilled to meet the legendary Bobby Martin in my tour of the town. You can’t have a great town without one or two legendary citizens.