By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – After a years-long effort, Tupelo on Wednesday won recognition as the “Healthiest City in Mississippi.”
The BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi Foundation announced the winner of its Healthy Hometown grant competition during the Mississippi Municipal League’s Annual Conference in Biloxi.
Tupelo gets $50,000 as part of the win.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. from the conference. “It proves that we are recognized for our successes in changing Tupelo’s culture to one that will benefit all of our citizens, young and old.”
This is the second time Tupelo entered the contest. It had come in second place two years ago to Hernando but still won a $25,000 grant, which it put toward health-related projects.
Those efforts all were spearheaded by the Mayor’s Healthy Task Force.
“None of this would have been accomplished,” Reed said, “without the terrific passion of our Healthy City Task Force led by Liz Dawson and Hank Boerner.”
The city will have a press conference today to announce more information about the grant.
In addition to the Healthy City award, Tupelo also won MML’s City Spirit Award for the task force’s work. And it was recognized as the fourth city in the state to go smoke-free, said city spokeswoman Annabeth Wyatt.