Family, friends dedicate pavilion to longtime TV5 anchor
SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WNEM) - Family and friends gathered Saturday morning to remember longtime TV5 news anchor and baseball enthusiast Sam Merrill at a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the pavilion named in his honor.
His family and friends initiated the project at the North Saginaw Township Little League Complex in 2016, the year he died at the age of 55.
The project would include a new concession stand, restrooms, a covered patio, and the exterior walls would have a sign recognizing Sam.
“It means everything,” said Scott Montalbano, president of the little league. “There were a lot of points where we didn’t know if it was ever going to be completed but we’re here now, beautiful day, beautiful unveiling of the pavilion so we’re good to go.”
Merrill’s family said the project faced delays from worker shortages and covid. Despite the obstacles, the family hopes the memorial serves as a way for the community to know who Sam was.
“He had an internal guided system that was ethical, and it was pure,” said Sam’s father. “I don’t want to make him into a hero, but he just was engineered that way and I’m proud to be his dad…proud to have this day.”
The pavilion sits as the centerpiece of the five-field complex. The organization has helped more than 24,000 youth since it started in 1963.
“I think they’ll look at it and many will recognize that Sam was an icon in local television broadcasting, but also that he loved the game of baseball,” said Gary Fahndrict, the overseer of the project. “So I think they’ll look at that as a real positive.”
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