Whether it is an individual, a business, non-private, or our city itself, it is always nice to be recognized for a job well done. Over the past several months, our city, city’s departments, and individuals working within the departments have consistently been recognized by their peers for a job well done.
As I have mentioned in a prior article, at this summer’s Mississippi Municipal League, the City of Tupelo was awarded the Public Safety Award for the Tupelo Fire Department’s Lunch Buddies program, which was an initiative started by firefighter Ro Traylor. As a result of the hard work of the Tupelo Park and Recreation Department and Mayor’s Health Taskforce Tupelo received the Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s Healthy Heroes Program grant of $39,360 and the Healthy Hometown Award of $50,000. These funds will be used to enhance our parks and continue to promote healthy living in Tupelo.
Last week at the Mississippi Governor’s Tourism Awards luncheon, the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau and Downtown Main Street Association received numerous awards, including the organization’s top award as Mississippi’s top Destination Marketing Organization. The other awards received were for Mississippi’s Promotion of the Year, Best Social Media Campaign, and the organizations Research in Action award. The Downtown Main Street Association received the Tourism Achievement Award as a result of the many quality-of-life offerings in Downtown Tupelo.
Our departments also have team members who are leaders across the state in their respective fields. Bancorpsouth Arena Director Todd Hunt served as Chair of the International Association of Venue Managers Venue Management School for 2019. Mel Pomfrey, Tupelo Airport Authority Director of Operations, was selected as the Professional of the Year for 2019 by the Mississippi Airports Association. Chief Operations Officer Don Lewis, Fire Chief Thomas Walker, Deputy Fire Chief Jimmy Avery, Police Chief Bart Aguirre, Deputy Police Chief Allan Gilbert, CVB Director Neal McCoy, Main Street Director Debbie Brangenburg, Arena Director Todd Hunt, Park & Recreation Director Alex Farned, Aquatics Center Director Amy Kennedy, and Park & Recreation Sports Director Alex Wilcox have each been asked to be speakers at professional development seminars, continuing education classes, and other meetings so that peers could learn from their expertise in their respective fields. Numerous members of our CVB have spoken at a multitude of conferences and events all over the nation. Tupelo Water & Light, led by Director Johnny Timmons, continues to be recognized through the longtime partnership with TVA to provide grants, cost saving, and other economic development incentives to our city and local businesses. Our Public Works Department, led by Director Chuck Williams, has been consistently recognized over the past six years by various state entities for a job well done in doing the heavy lifting in maintaining the city. Development Services is under the direction of Pat Falkner, who was appointed last month. He is continuing the high level of services for that outstanding department.
Tupelo has also received an incredible amount of national press for the great things happening right here at home. The Journal for the American Banking Association declared Tupelo as “Bank City USA” for being the smallest city in the nation to be the home of two financial institutions with a valuation of more than $10 billion. Forbes Magazine travel writer Brittany Anas penned an article featuring Tupelo titled “Is This Small Southern City the Next Big Food Destination?” in which she highlighted the robust foodie scene here in the All-America City.
In October 2018, Readers Digest proclaimed Tupelo as one of the top 15 cities to move to across the nation. Additionally, since January of this year, Tupelo or businesses located in Tupelo have been featured in Architectural Digest, Livability, the Travel Channel, U.S. News & World Report, Budget Travel, Smarter Travel, Men’s Variety, TripSavvy, AARP Online, Food Fanatics Magazine, and many other publications.
We have a great community of which we can be very proud. Our citizens and the famed “Tupelo Spirit” continue to be the driving force in developing an even more attractive and livable city right here at home.