Jack Reed Jr. is the 2020 Junior Auxiliary Citizen of the Year. He received the honor during Friday night’s Charity Ball. Reed, president and chairman of the board of Reed’s department store chain, is a native of Tupelo and a longtime benefactor and volunteer in the community. At 68 years old, Reed has lived a life that much could be written about. And, in fact, that’s exactly what nominators David and Shawn Brevard and Trentice Imbler did in their letter of nomination. It is four single-spaced pages long and so full of Reed’s history that to recount even half of it would require much more space than is available here. “I was surprised,” Reed said of his award. “My only regret is that it was not a couples’ award.” Through most of his life, Reed has been supported and joined in many of his efforts by his wife of 45 years, Lisa White Reed, who has also performed community service separate from her husband. They have a daughter, Kirk Reed Forrester, and a son, Jack Reed III. They also have five grandchildren. All the family was present for the presentation of the award; all arrived in secrecy to prevent Reed being tipped off. “That was cool,” said Reed. Aside from heading up the family’s retail clothing/gifts/books chain of stores, it is likely Reed is known for being mayor of Tupelo 2009-2013. At the time he announced he would not seek re-election, Reed cited his need to return to his family’s business, which began in 1905. He said he liked being mayor but it was more than a full-time job so he had to make a tough decision whether to go for a second term; Reed’s Department Store won. That is not the first time in Reed’s life that the family business won. Little known to many is that Reed is a lawyer who was employed, 1976-1980, at what is now known as Mitchell McNutt & Sams law firm: “I liked the law but Dad wanted to bring new blood into the business,” Reed said. “Dad” is the late Jack Reed Sr., a powerful force in Mississippi politics and business and still a powerful force in the younger Reed’s life. Reed explained that “new blood” meant bringing younger leadership to the business rather than seeing it become old and stodgy. Reed was the young leadership and by 1987, he had been named to the top spot, a position he’s held since then. But along the way, Reed has spent many hours volunteering for many organizations and efforts as well as heading up some of those groups. They range from the Joyner School PTA to the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association and many, many more. Of his leadership roles, he has an easy explanation as to how those came about: “If you’re willing to be in these organizations, over time you’ll be asked to lead them,” he said, adding that “meeting people” has been the best part of working with the many organizations. Another little-known part of Reed’s life happened while he attended Tupelo High School in 1967, the day five black students arrived to integrate the school. He was student vice president and greeted each of the new students as they arrived, welcoming them to THS. He has continued that commitment to people through his life. As for the free time he gets, Reed still pursues his lifelong love for tennis, which he plays several times a week.
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