Now comes another award — Dunlap has been named the 2023 Tire Business Tire Dealer Humanitarian of the Year.
The annual award, now in its 30th year, recognizes an independent tire dealer who has made significant contributions to the betterment of their community through charitable and/or public service work.
An independent committee selected Dunlap because he has demonstrated an unselfish commitment to the betterment of others.
"There is a lot about Mr. Dunlap that impresses us," the committee said. "Praise for him — often specific and detailed — comes from many directions. His humanitarianism is exhibited over a wide range of areas and many years.
"It includes things that may have helped his business, but also things where he simply put money out of pocket with little hope of return. It includes public acts and private acts that he likely thought nobody would know about. ...
"With Mr. Dunlap, it seems to us that being a humanitarian is baked into the recipe of his life and business, far beyond any PR benefit to the company."
Due to his successful career in the tire wholesale/retail business, Dunlap has had the means to share his wealth — and share he does.
The anecdotes of Dunlap's generosity seem endless:
- The man who came out of prison, proved himself a hard worker and when he expressed his desire to get a college degree, Dunlap called the university and covered the tuition.
- The waitress serving him a meal at a local restaurant who was working to save up money for college, so Dunlap calls the university and tells them to send him her tuition bills.
- A group of church members who asked Dunlap for a donation to help build a new church, and he writes a check to reach the fundraising goal.
- A store manager who wanted to take his wife on a weekend trip to see the Gulf of Mexico for the first time, so Dunlap insisted on covering the cost of the vacation.
- A customer undergoing cancer treatment who was behind on his car repair payment, so Dunlap wrote off the debt.
He has supported numerous people released from prison by providing them with jobs and college tuition.
He has helped employees and members of the community during tragedies.
He funds the Panola County Community Chest, which helps residents who need emergency financial assistance.
"I've known him since I was a little kid," King said. "My dad and him were friends, and he's always been a kind-hearted person, someone who really loves nature and really loves helping other people.
"I think he gets real enjoyment out of it," he said.
"His business acumen has made it possible for him to generously support the lives and talents of others by providing education, job training, opportunities, and he has chosen to help generations establish and maintain a wholesome, thriving, caring community," Batesville Mayor Hal Ferrell said.
"Bob Dunlap encourages and inspires us all to be better, to be kinder and to be good citizens. … My friend is quick to remind me that we all have the power to make a difference in a world often filled with strife and division."