By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. ducked good-natured jabs from a predecessor, one of his best friends and his dad in the name of helping the Good Samaritan Free Clinic.
Former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough, Dr. Dick White and Jack Reed Sr. put the outgoing mayor on the hot seat so the clinic can continue serving working Lee County residents who can’t afford health insurance.
“This is the parable of the Good Samaritan at work,” said Jack Reed Jr., who served on the original steering committee with founder Dr. Antone Tannehill more than 20 years ago.
The 11th annual roast set a record, raising a third of the clinic’s $300,000 operating budget.
“At last count, we’ve raised $100,550,” announced Good Samaritan board vice chairman David Barber at the start of the evening.
For Reed’s father, Jack Reed Sr., and his neighbor, Dr. Dick White, Tuesday night was payback; Reed served them up at previous Good Samaritan roasts.
White teased Reed about his competitive nature and athletic talent, creating a fictional version of the letter from the Southeastern Conference commissioner, advising Reed to go into law or politics, not sports.
McCullough poked at the younger Reed about having such an impressive father and his fashion choices, along with a few digs at Tupelo figures before turning serious.
“He has a knack for bringing out the best in others,” McCullough said.
Jack Reed Sr. jokingly lamented all the people who praise his son’s four years of service as mayor of Tupelo while his family covered for him at Reed’s Department Store.
“I’ve made the sacrifice to do his job for him at an age when I should be in the nursing home,” the 89-year-old Reed quipped.
But the elder Reed ended with a salute to the Good Samaritan clinic and his son.
“I know his mother would be proud of him, and in fact, his father is, too,” Reed said. “God bless the Free Clinic. God bless Tupelo.”