Event set to bring Linden together

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

As a former Linden Patriot football player and an active minister in his hometown, David Keller is ready for positive steps.

Currently a Tuscaloosa resident who continues to teach Bible classes and work in Marengo’s county seat, Keller has followed the Linden Athletic Field controversy through various media outlets over the two months.

“I have actually seen a different side of things than what is being promoted,” Keller said. Keller said, in his experience, Linden has its divisions but is not a community that is or can stand to be separated over such issues.

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“There is a lot of talk about what’s going on and what’s the problem. It seems to be that nobody is doing anything to solve the problem,” Keller said.

In what he and other event organizers hope will be a positive step, Keller is helping host a community fun day at Scott Park in Linden Saturday from 9 a.m .to 1 p.m. The theme, After the Storm: A Platform of Hope, will concentrate on mending any broken fences and bridging any rifts that may exist as a result of the ongoing saga that has separated the Linden High School football team and the Linden Athletic Field.

“It’s time for a turning point,” Keller said. “We know the problem. Our focus is to bring people together. We know the issues. We know what’s going on. But what are we going to do about it?”

As part of the event, Wayne Rembert will serve as the guest speaker. His message will be aimed at unity.

Keller remembers well his days of donning the Linden Patriot jersey and sharing his home field with Marengo Academy. The marriage was not without its obstacles. But, according to Keller, the difficulties did not separate the community.

“Growing up, I played football also, under coach Luther Davis. Back then, we had issues with the field also. Who was going to play on Friday? Who was going to do the lines? But we worked through those issues. The focus of those issues were the kids. The kids wanted to play at home. The kids don’t want to go on the road and play,” Keller said. “It was a town divided in Linden, but we had guys in high school that hung out with guys from MA. They would go to parties together and they did those types of things.”

Keller said he believes communication is key to solution in the situation and is hopeful Saturday’s event will help get people talking.

“In this situation, I don’t know if they have sat down and asked the kids what they want,” Keller said.

“What needs to happen is that we all need to sit down collectively and come up with a solution that is best for the kids. What we’re saying to the city of Linden is that all of those who have anything to do with this, ‘Let’s solve the issue.’”

Keller said a number of local businesses have contributed to Saturday’s effort, which will include food, activities and entertainment.

“It’s completely free for all of those who want to come. We’re going to have free food, free drinks. There’s going to be praise, a group singing. There’s going to be a lot of activities for kids like flag football and things for them to play,” Keller said. “We’re also going to have what they call gospel rap music for artists who do the rap side of gospel.”