Governor's Foundation awards $5,000 to Grow Carter County

John Thompson • Sep 18, 2017 at 11:00 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Don't you just hate to see how Tennessee always ranks near the bottom of rankings of states on healthy living and lifestyles?

A lot of Carter Countians certainly did. That was the reason a group of the county's health, business and church leaders came together to form Grow Carter County. Josh McKinney is the organization’s chairman.

The idea is to encourage people in the county to eat more fruit and vegetables, get more exercise and encourage others to live a healthier lifestyle. Many of the county's employers, churches and organizations like the Carter County Health Department and the United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County are actively involved.

The group hopes its work will lead to Carter County being designated a "Healthier Tennessee Community.” This designation will open the door to funding opportunities and other ways to encourage lifestyle changes for the healthier.

The local effort was recognized by the state on Monday. Stacy Baugues, regional director of the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness, came to the Grow Carter County meeting, where she presented the group with a $5,000 grant.

McKinney said the group has five things it plans to use the money to promote:

•A tobacco take-back day, where smokers will receive incentives to quit by turning their tobacco products in, swapping them for something healthy.

•The creation of story trails, in which posts are erected along a trail. The posts contains bits of stories, which can only be competed by following the trail. The stories can be changed on a frequent basis.

•A Grow Carter County Kindness Rock Project, to encourage people to get out and find small rocks with inspiring messages, then replacing the rocks.

•Continue to build the community gardens project, which will be entering its third year next summer.

•Expand the water bottle refill project to Little Milligan Elementary School, where many families still rely on well water.

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