1970 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"We're put on this earth to serve."
Riley Sims was born in 1903 in East St. Louis, Illinois. When he was 12, his father died. Sims baled hay at 50 cents a day, hauled props to coal mines, and shucked corn to support his mother and sister. He often went home at night with bleeding hands. In 1921, he moved with his family to Florida. He learned carpentry and formed a partnership with Russell J. Burnup in 1929. The company, Burnup & Sims, Inc., built homes and, with the outbreak of World War II, built air bases. The company sold most of its large network of ready-mix-concrete plants in 1956 and began diversifying. It became a major installer of telephones, communication lines, and cables in 23 states with a staff of more than 100 engineers. The company installed more than 60 Community Antenna Television systems in the United States.* Deceased