Bingo! Sec. Merrill special guest at Brushy Pond’s regular game


Alabama Sec. of State John Merrill calls the numbers at Thursday’s bingo game at the Brushy Pond Senior Center. / Nick Griffin

BRUSHY POND – The Brushy Pond Senior Center held its weekly bingo game on Thursday, and they had a very special guest calling the numbers: Alabama Sec. of State John Merrill. Dusty Baker, director of the Cullman County Commission on Aging, was excited to see the morning go as planned thanks in large part to the center’s manager, Cindy Stricklin. He was also happy to see a prominent figure come out to engage with the senior community.

“Cindy reached out and emailed Sec. Merrill to see if he was available and he responded. Like he said he’s always open and if his schedule allows it he’ll schedule you,” Baker said. “It’s always special when somebody from Montgomery comes up to Cullman County because it puts them in touch with the people here. Their voices want to be heard and it also establishes a level of respect for each other through our legislators and county commission that we’re all working toward improving Cullman County.”

Merrill is very familiar with Cullman County, having made several trips here in the past. He spoke about what it is he appreciates about the community.

“This is my 14th trip to Cullman County since January and one of the reasons I like to come up here is because the people here are outstanding citizens. They participate in their community, they participate when it comes to voting, they participate with their ball teams and it can be as big as Rock the South or a little league game,” Merrill said. “The people here still believe in God and country, they go to church, they practice their faith, they take care of people; this is what Alabama is all about and that’s why I love to come to Cullman.”

Merrill said he thinks it’s important for him to try to visit all the state’s counties every year and interact with those communities.

“You can sit there at the state capitol in Montgomery and think you know what’s going on from Autauga County to Winston County, but you don’t. The only way to know is by getting out and visiting with folks. That’s one of the reasons I try to visit all 67 counties every year, and I’ve done that for the last five years. This year I will have more than 365 visits to those 67 counties; there’s no better way to know what’s going on and for you to have the privilege to visit citizens in their homes and their communities than to go out and visit them. When you are visiting them, you learn about their communities and try to find ways to help them solve their problems.”

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