BY REBECCA BUGGER WEEKLY REPORTER
When Cade Dillard moved from North Carolina to Illinois at the age of eight, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Along with his sisters and his mother, they came to the Midwest to join other family members that were currently living in the Land of Lincoln. At first, adapting to his new environment wasn’t easy for Cade. He wasn’t really making friends and he needed some positive influences in his life, so his mother decided that signing him up for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program might be a good idea.
“I was an extremely anxious and shy kid. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust and I think my mom knew that I needed something more,” Cade said.
At the same time, Dave Merrill was figuring out something similar, settling in to one place for more than a couple of years.
After growing up in Aurora, Colorado, Dave graduated the Air Force Academy in 1976 and started his career, flying for the United States Air Force. He first visited Scott Air Force base and lived in Illinois in the early eighties, but went on to other places like Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
Eventually, the 1990’s brought Dave back to Illinois. While the Air Force and Dave’s family were important to him, the Pastor at his church felt that Dave was one of those special people that had the ability to help others in a selfless way; and he was right. The Pastor worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois and suggested that it was something that Dave should get involved with.