PINEVILLE, Ky (WYMT) - Sunday's holiday is all about taking a moment to appreciate the things our dads do for us. While everyone's relationship with their father is different, one Bell County man learned last week just how much his family loves him.
A father of six, Bruce Merrick is a family man through and through. A devoted dad, he lives his life for his kids and his wife, who's battling a debilitating disease.
"My wife has multiple sclerosis. She has had it since she was 26-years-old. So she has had it for 35 years nearly," said Merrick.
After more than three decades of caregiving, Merrick got an unexpected call from a producer with NBC's Today Show in New York City.
"They said we are going to do a follow-up on care takers and so we spent I do not know how many hours answering questions, sending back five pages of information," said Merrick.
But upon arriving in the Big Apple with his daughter, he realized something was up.
"She kept saying are you nervous? Are you nervous, dad about going on TV? I was like I have been on TV before. I am not nervous But she was as nervous as could be and she is a Broadway actress. Looking back, I can see lots of things that were out of sort, I just did not catch it," said Merrick.
Instead of an interview about MS, Merrick was applauded for his selflessness as a father by all six kids, including his second youngest son Monte.
"It was not even like I was on TV or on the Today Show because it was just kind of such a raw emotional moment with our whole family,' said Monte Merrick.
But even after being nationally recognized for his dedication as a father, Merrick still credits his kids for all his accomplishments.
"A lot of the things I got recognized for, they helped with," said Merrick.
Now as he settles back into life in the mountains of Bell County, he reflects on all the lessons he hopes his kids have learned.
"Looking back, you want your kids to hopefully emulate the good things in your life and be strong in their faith, good to their wives, kind to their mother and great to their kids," said Merrick.
Merrick's wife lives in a facility in Rockcastle County that can accommodate her respiratory needs. He tells WYMT that he makes the 75-mile trip to visit her whenever he can.