State Senator Michael McLachlan Honors Coach Doug Merrill for His Historic Run to the Florida Keys

October 15, 2009

Run to Support the Power Up Foundation, an Organization Promoting Mental Health and Physical Fitness

Hartford, CT – State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) honored community activist and author Coach Doug Merrill at a special ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford today. Coach Merrill is the founder of the Power Up Foundation which provides financial assistance to communities and programs promoting positive physical fitness and positive mental health. Merrill stopped in Hartford today on his way to Key West, Florida. He is participating in an historic run which began on October 4th in Boston and will end in April of 2010 in Key West. At today’s ceremony, Senator McLachlan presented Merrill with a special proclamation from Governor M. Jodi Rell.

“It is an honor for me to present this award to Coach Merrill today,” said Senator McLachlan. “This historic run from Boston to Florida is a feat of tremendous strength, will and determination. His dedication to raising awareness, particularly in youngsters, about the need for positive mental health and physical fitness is a true inspiration and I wish him nothing but the best on the remainder of his journey.”

Coach Merrill resigned as a teacher and focuses solely on public speaking and writing and is author of the book “Fighting the Demon of Suicide.” The book is part of the inspiration for Coach Merrill’s run and centers on conquering emotional stress and preventing the tragedy of suicide, particularly in youngsters and teens. In the book Coach Merrill also outlines a ten-point plan on overcoming the “demons of mental depression.”

“At a time when health care is debated daily in this country, I believe there has never been a better opportunity to spread the message of the importance of physical fitness and mental health,” Coach Merrill said. “I intend to raise money for communities that promote this idea. In addition, I am leading by example by running from Boston Massachusetts to Key West, Florida to prove that no problem or task is too large to overcome.”

Coach Merrill is hoping to raise $25 million for the Power Up Foundation. Programs across the country that promote positive mental and physical health would then be eligible to apply for a grant from the foundation.

During the six months of the run, Coach Merrill will run a ½ marathon (13.1 miles) each day. He will also stop along the way to speak with students at universities, colleges and high schools as well as community organizations to help promote positive mental health by improving physical activity.

If you’d like more information on the Power Up Foundation or the Run to the Keys Campaign, please visit:

Senator McLachlan represents the 24th District communities of Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman. His press secretary is Rachel Reese. She may be reached at 860.240.8865 or via email at [email protected].