MV wins $50,000 in statewide Cold Turkey project

Mount Vernon is the winner in the $50,000 statewide Cold Turkey contest. The nicotine cessation contest, sponsored by the Reichardt Family Foundation and Above + Beyond Cancer, was created to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the release of the 1971 Norman Lear movie “Cold Turkey.”

A group of five representatives from Mount Vernon drove to Des Moines on Tuesday, March 2, to receive the $50,000 check from Randy Reichardt and Scott Flood representing the Reichardt Family Foundation. Also on hand at the check presentation ceremony were Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Chris Goodale and Dr. Richard Deming from Above + Beyond Cancer.

“I have never been more proud of my community than I am today,” said Joe Jennison, Chair of the Committee. “Above + Beyond Cancer and the Reichardt Family Foundation were great to work with and we are forever grateful for their gift to our community. However, the credit for this grant win goes to the nine local Fighters who sacrificed and suffered through this two-month cessation program. They are real local heroes.”

The nine local Fighters who successfully completed the two-month cessation program include Trace Carstensen, Andrea Gorsh, Mike and Jean Hunter, Jessica Hunter, Danielle Kumley, and Melissa Steen. Two other local participants chose to remain anonymous.

A committee of 12 CDG volunteers have been meeting since September 2020 discussing and designing the local program with the help of 11 community partner organizations that include

The American Heart Association, City of Mount Vernon, Cornell College, Hills Bank, Lester Buresh Family Community Wellness Center, Lynch Ford Chevrolet, MercyCare Business Health Solutions, Mount Vernon Community Charitable Development Group, Mount Vernon Community School District, Mount Vernon Police Department, and the Wellness Coalition of Rural Linn County (formerly RC Rail).

The Local Cold Turkey project committee contracted with MercyCare Business Health Solutions based in Cedar Rapids to manage the two-month program that monitored the progress of the nine local “Fighters” who chose to sign up for the free two-month cessation clinic. The Fighters took part in a weekly Zoom cessation class, three MercyCare-administered nicotine tests throughout the process (one at the beginning, near the middle of the program and at the end), and a network of support services including a free two-month membership to the Lester Buresh Family Community Wellness Center.

One stipulation with the contest was that the $50,000 grant was to be used for a community project. The Local Cold Turkey project committee chose to split the money into two local projects: 1) the completion of the Scarlett Boutique Alley Pocket Park, and 2) equipment needed to finish an exercise trail outside of the Community Wellness Center.

About the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group. The mission of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) is to develop and promote our business environment, including but not limited to our Main Street District, and enhance the Quality of Life in the communities we serve. Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community in 2008, and practices economic development within the context of historic preservation.

About Main Street
The Main Street Approach is a copyrighted process of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The Program has been used in Iowa since 1986 with a total of 56 communities having participated.  Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community on March 4, 2008 by the State of Iowa, after submitting a comprehensive application and presenting to a select board of reviewers

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