MCHD Cannon Team gets makeover in 2024 02.24.2024

February 24, 2024

MCHD Cannon Team gets makeover in 2024

MOBILE, Ala. — In 2016, an initiative called “MCHD Declares War on Physical Inactivity” began. Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, then serving as Health Officer for Mobile County, pointed out that Alabama has one of the highest obesity percentages in America.

In an effort to encourage residents to go outside and enjoy our beautiful surroundings while exercising, Dr. Eichold arranged to borrow a Civil War re-enactment cannon to serve as the “starting gun” for the Azalea Trail Run that year. The response was so positive that Dr. Eichold acquired funds to purchase our own weapon to battle obesity, and the “Cannon Team” was formed.

MCHD has participated in a variety of outreach events over the years. Now, in a move to better describe its mission, the unit has changed its name to the “Activities Team.”

The squad made its first outing of 2024 this morning to signal the start of the Cub Scout Pack 84’s Pinewood Derby at Crossroads Baptist Church in Mobile.

The derby is a wooden car racing event. Scouts build unpowered, unmanned miniature cars from a block of pine wood, plastic wheels, and metal axles. The cars are propelled by gravity down a track. The first Pinewood Derby occurred on May 15, 1953, in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, who assumed the position of Health Officer in 2022, has continued supporting the Activities Team’s mission. He participates in community events and encourages residents to go outside and enjoy our beautiful surroundings while exercising.

The Lyle Line-Throwing Cannon, which has a 2.5-inch-diameter barrel, was manufactured by Coston in the early 1900s. It is not a replica, reproduction, or toy. The cannon was designed to fire a projectile attached to a rope to a boat or a victim in distress. Now, it is used to inspire those seeking a healthier lifestyle and just getting outside to enjoy our wonderful surroundings.

Derrick Scott supervises a team of MCHD employees that has been trained to safely use the device. Joining him on Saturday were Tameka Morris (who fired the cannon), Edward Franklin, Tracey Hall, Eddie Jones, Gwendolyn Jones, Pebbles King, Roxanne Lee, Adrian Perdue, Michelle Suggs, William Taylor, LaJoya Todd, and Henry Wright.

Any other groups interested in having the MCHD Activities Team attend their event should contact the Office of Communications by calling 251-690-8823 or via email at