Fred Hunter is a familiar face for anyone who watches WBRC in Birmingham.

The Fort Payne natives has produced Absolutely Alabama for 22 years, criss-crossing the state in search of history, interesting people and just about anything unusual or unique for viewers.

Cullman County has been a frequent stop for Hunter and Absolutely Alabama, filming segments at Stone Bridge Farms, interviewing businessman Roy Drinkard, and stopping at St. Bernard Abbey to sample a loaf of delicious Monk Bread.

Speaking at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s final community luncheon for the year, Hunter recounted meeting many interesting and inspirational people across the state. But he was also found something a bit unusual or concerning.

Some Alabamians simply don’t realize how diverse and beautiful a state they live in.

A woman in the Dothan area in southeast Alabama was amazed that Alabama had waterfalls, which are plentiful in north Alabama. On the other hand, a resident in the Huntsville area was astounded that the state has such beautiful beaches after viewing a segment of Absolutely Alabama.

Hunter stressed that communities have intriguing features and people and deserve recognition and appreciation for what they add to the state.

“That’s one of my real passions, is encouraging people to experience your own state,” he said.

Hunter’s point should be taken to heart. Knowing, appreciating and exploring your own community is a valuable experience. But carry that a bit further when it’s time to travel. Whether traveling the main highways or the backroads, Alabama is geographically, historically and culturally a rich and inviting place to know.

In recent years, Cullman County has become a more popular destination for shopping and entertainment, which allows visitors to learn about the German heritage that built the community. Many of those visitors are coming back and spreading the word back home about Cullman.

The local community as well as the state benefit when residents take time to explore and understand the many features of the state.

We agree with Hunter. Discover your state and be ambassadors for the good things found in Alabama.

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