State Rep. Joe Bellino welcomed Trinity Lutheran student Olivia Merkle of Monroe and teacher Emily Adams to the Capitol Wednesday. Oliva was being recognized as a winner of Farm Bureau Insurance’s America & Me statewide essay contest.
“It was great to see a local student recognized for her vast talent and inspiring story about her father,” said Rep. Bellino of Monroe. “Olivia was very excited to be representing our community and has an extremely bright future ahead of her.”
Olivia competed against over 4,000 other students from nearly 400 junior high and middle schools from across Michigan. The student essays for this year’s contest were based on the topic, “My Personal Michigan Hero.” The essay focused on her father, Brian Merkle, who she considered to be her personal Michigan hero.
In her essay, she discusses her father’s life growing up in Monroe and how he continues to be a major part of the community. After college, he became a local firefighter and eventually began working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Brian continues his public service as an EMT, hosts blood drives and is an active member of the Monroe community.
State Rep. Joe Bellino pictured with Olivia Merkle (center) and Trinity Lutheran teacher Emily Adams in front of the Capitol in Lansing.