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Annual Luncheon Features Keynote Speaker Merril Hoge T he Schuylkill Chamber’s 99 th Annual Luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2017 at the Seasons Restaurant at Mountain Valley Golf Course , 1021 Brockton Mountain Drive, Barnesville. The keynote speaker is former NFL player, ESPN Analyst and Cancer Survivor Merril Hoge.

the only show that uses coaches’ tape to pro- vide an inside look at the game. Merril is also a regular contributor to ESPN.com and to ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Foot- ball and Super Bowl and NFL Draft coverage. In 2003, the habits and mindset that Merril formulated throughout his childhood and car- ried into adulthood, helped him Find AWay

to overcome the ultimate chal- lenge – cancer. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on February 14, Merril took on che- motherapy with the same tenacity that got him to the NFL and beat it. Through the difficult moments, Merril found inspiration through his daughter Kori, then nine, who upon hearing the news, whis- pered, “Dad, find a way.” On July 2, 2003, Merril was cancer-free.

Ever since Merril was eight- years-old, he dreamed of being a professional football player. Growing up in a small town in Idaho, the goal seemed unrealis- tic. But, in 1987, Merril made his childhood dream a reality when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he played until 1993. Along with Franco Harris, he is one of only two Steelers players to rush for more than 100

Merril Hoge

For all of his life accomplishments as an ath- lete and businessman, Merril’s biggest impact can be felt within his family and community. A long-time Board Chairman of the Highmark Caring Foundation and Caring Place centers, which provide a place for grieving children, adolescents and their families to cope with the loss of a parent or loved one, Merril’s vision is to help all children know their value and im- portance, helping them to grow up healthy and whole. For the last 12 years, alongside Pitts- burgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, Merril has hosted the Hoge Ward Celebrity Golf Clas- sic for Children to raise funds and awareness for the programs of the Highmark Caring Founda- tion. The luncheon begins promptly at 11:30 a.m. at Mountain Valley. Cost is $50 for Chamber members, $100 for Future members or $575 for a corporate table of 8. Reservations are required for this event. Make your reservation by calling the Schuylkill Chamber at 570-622-1942/800- 755-1942 or email vmihoda@schuylkillchamber. com . ℑ

yards in back-to-back playoff games. He was the Steelers Iron Man of the Year two years in a row (1989 and 1990) and was named to the All-Madden team in 1989. In 1993, Mer- ril went to the Chicago Bears as a free agent, where he played for one year until he was forced to retire early due to post-concussion syndrome. At the time of his retirement, Mer- ril had the longest consecutive playing streak in the NFL. Merril joined ESPN in 1995 as a football analyst and sideline reporter, where he quick- ly distinguished himself through his in-depth knowledge of the game and his strong rela- tionships with the coaches and players in the National Football League. He has since served as a host and analyst for a wide variety of ESPN programs on television, radio and the Internet, including ESPN’s SportsCenter and NFL Live; Friday Football and Fantasy Insid- er on ESPN News; The NFL on ESPN Radio; and alongside Ron Jaworski on the highly acclaimed State Farm NFL Matchup, which is

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