City of Luverne honors Mack Wise with resolution

Published 1:27 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

Luverne City Council members signed a resolution Nov. 14 to honor Mack A. Wise for more than 50 years of contributions to the city and just in time to celebrate his 85th birthday.

Wise, a native of Elba, moved to Luverne with his wife Tula about 50 years ago. Since then, his contributions, largely behind the scenes and unknown by many residents, have contributed countless dollars and growth opportunities for the south-central Alabama community.

“I can’t say enough about Mack,” said Luverne Mayor Ed Beasley, a close friend of Wise’s. “He is very humble and generous. He’s been such an asset to our community, city, and county, with the jobs he’s brought in with the four different businesses he brought.”

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On Nov. 21, Wise celebrated his 85th birthday and was surprised with a presentation of the city’s resolution.

“His birthday represented 50 years of him being here in the community,” said Luverne Councilman Merrill Sport. “He’s done so much, with no recognition from the community and the city, so the mayor and city council wanted to recognize his contributions with the resolution.”

Through the years, Wise contributed to Luverne by developing properties and attracting businesses to Luverne, including Dollar General, Family Dollar, Factory Connection, and the original Jack’s Restaurant. Wise also helped his brother John build Hicks Incorporated, providing countless jobs to area residents.

In addition to bringing jobs and business to Luverne, Wise worked quietly behind the scenes and supported Luverne High School for expansion, donating 40 acres where the school built a softball field, practice football field, and a bus parking lot, with room for future growth.

“He’s given and given and given and he’s never been recognized for anything,” Beasley said. “He’s brought multiple businesses to town, which has grown tax-based revenues. He’s been a good community leader, but he’s one of the guys that has never been in the paper and received no recognition for it.”

Wise is a popular Luverne resident, who is considered something of a legend to sports fans. In 1958, he was the first player to carry a football in the first play the University of Alabama football team ran under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant when the Tide faced Louisiana State University in Mobile.

Football injuries from those days have impacted Wise’s health, Merrill said, but not his impact on the community.

“He has a lot of health issues,” Merrill said. “He needs back surgery and hurts all the time. But his mind is still brilliant. He has supported the mayor and the council wanted to do something to celebrate him.”