Brad Banes is in his third year of serving on the Hinds Community College Foundation Board of Directors but long before then he was a Hinds “kid.”
“I was born and raised in faculty housing,” he said, recalling an idyllic childhood of playing on Park Circle and riding his bike with friends on campus, while Campus Police half-heartedly shooed them away.
His dad was Billie Banes, who retired from full-time employment in 2001 as farm manager. He passed away in 2012. His brother Kenny now has the same job.
Banes graduated from Raymond High School and attended Hinds three years before transferring to Mississippi State University. Now back in Raymond, he has owned Diversified Pest Management for 20 years.
At Hinds, he studied agriculture, was active in the Ag Club and was a work study student on the Hinds farm his dad managed.
“I just enjoyed my whole time here, but especially working as a student, working with my dad,” he said. Both of his parents were “givers” to others. “My dad would give you the shirt off his back,” he said.
His parents’ example and his life-long memories of Hinds have inspired him to want to give back and ensure other students have the opportunity for a quality Hinds experience. “I don’t know if it’s a genetic trait or not, but I have so much joy in helping people,” said Banes, who recently returned from an eye-opening mission trip in Belize.
After his father passed away, his family started the Billie Banes Scholarship intended for students who are or may be on the borderline academically but have very real financial need.
“My mission on the Foundation board would be to make sure that we’re getting the money to the kids that need it the most and not to the kids that don’t,” he said. “With the Foundation, it’s not a mission trip to Belize, but it is a mission and it’s a mission to help people and to help students that need help.”
He is also one of the organizers of the Ken Smith Golf Tournament that funds a scholarship. Smith, who was his cousin, died of drowning 19 years ago. “That has really been my greatest contribution and hardest work for the Foundation for 19 years,” he said.
Banes is married to his high school sweetheart, Sonya Banes, and they attended Hinds together. Their son Josh also attended Hinds where he played baseball and received the Most Valuable Pitcher Award and the Eagle Award in 2019.
Lee Bush brought his long-time commitment to serving education to the Hinds Community College Foundation Board after serving 12 years on the Mississippi Community College Board.
Bush and his wife Dr. Freda Bush, a retired OB-GYN who passed away in January, are well-known in central Mississippi for their service to others, including on numerous boards for nonprofits and other entities.
“We always have worked with the youth in terms of mentoring and just encouraging youth in the church and community,” he said.
Bush said he was in the right place at the right time to be selected for the MCCB. That experience “was new, it was different. I didn’t realize how critical the Community College Board is relative to all the colleges. Everybody works together, educating the state of Mississippi. I was glad to be a part of it.”
Serving on the Foundation board brought home to him how much help some students need.
“Students need help in so many different ways. You can eliminate some of those ways by virtue of providing scholarship monies to fill in the gap. I’ve seen it happen and I believe in that,” he said. He is also a member of 100 Black Men of Jackson, which funds an annual scholarship for a Hinds student.
While serving on the Foundation Board, he learned about Hinds’ Minority Male Leadership (M2M) program on the Jackson Campus, which offers tutoring, mentoring and exposure to careers and four-year institutions.
“That is a very impressive program. I followed it and went to their meetings. It was just really delightful,” he said. “We had one student in the program who just didn’t do well on the ACT. He came for one semester, made all As and got picked up by Jackson State University.”
Bush continues his active involvement in numerous community organizations. He has four grown children spread throughout the country, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is president and CEO of National Collection Systems, a waste management company based in Jackson.