Letter: Merchant is best choice to lead Sumter forward


Have you ever heard the sound the roots of a 75-foot-tall tree make when they are snapping like rubber bands as the tree plummets to the ground? From personal experience, I can assure you it is a pretty horrifying sound.

Our family was confronted with this problem several years ago as Hurricane Matthew decided to make its presence felt, literally, in our front yard. With school and work canceled for the day, our family was huddled in the den of our house when the haunting sound of roots large in diameter began to snap and there was this dramatic pause before we heard the tree crash to the ground.

As we walked outside to survey the damage, we certainly had an issue as the tree fell across our front yard, blocking the street, and ended in our neighbor's yard across the street. By the time the day had ended, three more trees had fallen.

Also, before the day ended, a family appeared at our door with work boots and gloves on and a chainsaw in hand. I've known David and Laurie Merchant for the better part of 15 years, and there are a countless number of stories I could share identical to this one that shows the heart for service the Merchant family have for the Sumter community.

There are a number of reasons David Merchant is without question the best choice to lead Sumter forward: I could easily point to his background as a business leader as he started a business in his driveway and now provides jobs for more than 50 people in our local community. I could point to his prior work serving on our city council for the past eight years. I could point to his work on the City-Council Planning Commission and his service as a deacon at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

All of these by themselves more than show the qualities Mr. Merchant would bring to the mayor's office. However, when combined with the heart for service that drives him not to simply sit on boards or commissions but to roll up his sleeves and work hand in hand for the betterment of his community, the choice could not be clearer.

David Merchant is the choice to lead Sumter as its next mayor, and I could not be more proud to recommend him for this office!