Tapiwa Mupereki, a local pharmacist, was recognized with the monthly Excellence in Edwardsville award. He was given the award for starting the Books for Bikes summer reading challenge, which encouraged children to read with the chance to win one of 14 bikes.
Mupereki, co-founder and CEO of JewelRide, a compa that provides transportation to medical appointments, said it’s very humbling to be recognized. He said that as a company, they never know the extent of their impact, so they strive to be a force for good in society.
“When you just focus on being a force for good, you don’t realize that people are taking notice of that,” Mupereki said. “When we did this … summer reading challenge, there was no intention that it was going to be noticed … if you are a force for good, you never know what other positive impacts it could create.”
Mupereki said his drive for public service partly comes from his upbringing in a rural village in Zimbabwe, and when he later moved to a mining town. He said people are trying to help each other to solve problems in those communities.
“I saw many people trying to come to my help in various ways, whether that was when I was in school or adjusting in the community,” Mupereki said. “Our mission is to empower individuals to access quality care, but that is not enough. As a business, there’s also an expectation for us to be a force for good in the communities that we serve.”
James Arnold, the economic and community developer and grants coordinator for the city of Edwardsville, said he and Library Director Jill Schardt nominated Mupereki not only because of his idea for the reading challenge, but because he took it upon himself to donate $3,500 to purchase 10 bikes – an act that spurred other local businesses to donate bikes as well.
“Excellence in Edwardsville [is] just to highlight special people doing special things in our own community, and I firmly believe that an action like that fits the bill,” Arnold said.
Arnold said Mupereki is incredibly energetic and full of ideas.
"When you work for a city and you have a gentleman, a business member that lives and works and breathes in your community and comes to you with new ideas, it’s great,” Arnold said. “It helps make Edwardsville special.”