Guest Commentary

In 1897, two pastors and several Merrill businessmen formed Church Mutual Insurance Company to provide insurance protection to churches. That entrepreneurial idea has evolved over the past 116 years into a company that is America’s largest insurer of houses of worship, senior living facilities, and related institutions.
Church Mutual had its beginnings in Merrill, Church Mutual is presently in Merrill, and it is our intention to stay and thrive in Merrill. Why Merrill? The Merrill area community has more than met our needs by providing a business-friendly infrastructure. However, most importantly, Merrill has allowed Church Mutual to consistently attract and retain its best asset, our employees, who are the men and women with the necessary skill sets and work ethic to successfully meet our mission to protect religious ministries. Turnover at Church Mutual is extremely low and the vast majority of our staff lives in the 54452 zip code. Generations of our employees have enjoyed the Merrill lifestyle as they worked and raised their families here.
Church Mutual has enjoyed great success and growth because of Merrill’s healthy combination of a strong school system, excellent access to health providers, local government services around our parks, T. B. Scott Library, social programs, and a local balanced business economy.
While Church Mutual likes our community atmosphere to grow and prosper, it recognizes that one of the challenges facing the Merrill area is to leverage our community advantages into creating a more dynamic Merrill area for our present and future employees to work in and their families to grow in.
The Merrill Area Community Foundation, which was established to develop and promote the Merrill “way of life” we all cherish, is spearheading the “Merrill Community Forum Series” this spring. Starting on April 18, the first of four educational interactive sessions will be conducted with the goal to help encourage community members to take positive definitive action to make Merrill even more successful. I would encourage Merrill community members interested in this topic to participate and help Merrill improve. More information on these sessions will be forthcoming in local media stories and additional details on these sessions can be obtained by contacting Art Lersch – UW Extension at (715) 539-1075.

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