By NEMS Daily Journal
Swimming program required big effort
In the summer of 1956 Bill Ross, sports editor for the Daily Journal, called me. He said there was an interest in starting swim meets in our area. Okolona and Amory had contacted him. He asked me if I would consider organizing and coaching a team for Tupelo. It was a lifeguard at the old round pool on Madison Street. I told him I would see about it. I asked Mrs. Langston, the pool manager, about using the facility to practice if there was enough interest. She said she could not make that decision and I would have to talk to the mayor.
I did and the mayor said he would talk to the aldermen about it. He later called Mrs. Langston and said the city was not interested in competitive sports outside the public schools. I called Bill Ross and told him. He prepared an article for the sports page with the title “City of Tupelo will not allow for a swim team.” He called the mayor and read the article to him that was to be in the next day’s paper. The mayor contacted Mrs. Langston and said the pool could be used from noon to 1 p.m. for practice.
I organized a swim team, and George McGreger helped me coach the team members. It was hard to practice in a round pool that had poles and a chain at the end of the deep water with a diving tower in the middle of the pool.
We received no support, and I had to use my car and borrow my mother’s car which George drove to get the team to Okolona and Amory, and I had to pay all the expenses for the swimming team while making $17 a week as a lifeguard – gas was 19 cents a gallon.
Some of the team members were Henry Dodge (businessman), Murray Akers (lawyer), Roma Taylor (doctor) and Rosemary Rich (Bryan, dietitian at NMMC). Milton Bradley was a diver on the team.
Tupelo later supported swim teams and is now building the Aquatics Center. This is some change from our start to those who have lately supported Tupelo’s swim teams. Thanks!
NMMC praised for quality care
Recently I completed a week-long stay at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
The quality of care and the quality of the individuals that I came in contact with at North Mississippi Medical Center were unbelievable.
I hope you in Tupelo and surrounding communities appreciate what a quality facility and staff you have. I could not have made a speedy recovery without them and they frankly saved my life.
I will be traveling to your fair city hopefully in the upcoming weeks to express my gratitude to all involved.
Mitchell M. Lundy Jr.
Chancery Court Judge