City named one of state’s ‘Healthy Hometowns”

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Brookhaven has been named one of Mississippi’s “Healthy Hometowns” by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation and will receive a $25,000 grant to support further healthy initiatives.

     Karen Sullivan, Brookhaven’s alderman at large, led the committee responsible for submitting the application. The committee had between 15 and 20 members.

     “We just documented all the things we’re striving for,” Sullivan said. “It’s really incredible when you look at it. I’m really proud of that.”

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     A press release from Blue Cross & Blue Shield said the committee works to provide opportunities to make healthy living a priority. As proof, the news release cited the Brookhaven School district’s wellness policy and Child Nutrition Program, the Mississippi Gran Prix and the city’s website.

     Sullivan said after she returns from the Mississippi Municipal League Annual conference this week, where the award was announced Wednesday, she will call a committee meeting to determine how the money will be spent.

     She said as part of the application they listed possible uses but they are not bound to them.

     “We’ll see how far $25,000 will go,” she said.

     Sullivan said the money is important because the city cannot always budget for healthy initiatives, and that’s exactly what this will help.

     “It will further the cause of being a healthy hometown,” she said.

     This is the first year Brookhaven has applied for the grant, but Blue Cross & Blue Shield recognized the progress Brookhaven has made to create healthy living and working environments.

     “Brookhaven has made tremendous progress in supporting its residents in their efforts to live healthy lifestyles,” said Sheila Grogan, executive director of Blue Cross & Blue Shield in a press release.

     “We hope this grant will enable them to provide even more resources and opportunities for expanding local wellness efforts.”

     Brookhaven is one of three cities to receive “Healthy Hometown” and qualified in the population category of 5,001 to 14,999 residents. Starkville was presented the award in the population category above 15,000 residents and Ridgeland was named the “Healthiest Hometown” in Mississippi. Ridgeland will receive $50,000 as the statewide winner.

     Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation created the awards in 2010 to help communities promote healthy lifestyles.