Local WWII vet sends Trump subscription asking him to save power plants, 700 jobs –
Story and photo by Patricia Beech –
When J.J. Whitley of West Union, a veteran of World War II, walked into the Defender offices recently to purchase a year’s subscription, Amber Dryden-Grooms, the Defender’s Circulation and Classified Representative, said she was surprised when he requested the papers be sent to President Donald Trump at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue inWashington DC.
“The Defender staff offered to cover the cost, but Mr. Whitley insisted on paying. He said “I’ll buy the first year, and you can buy the next seven,” according to Grooms.
Like many people in Adams County, Mr. Whitley, who turned 90 on July 4, was shocked when he learned that DP&L planned to stop all operation at the J.M. Stuart and Killen power plants in Manchester. He decide to go straight to the top for a solution.
“When I saw it in the Defender that the power plants were going to close, I thought 700 lost jobs might perk his interest so I tore that front page out and I sent it to the President,” said Whitley.
Mr. Whitley included a letter with the news clipping. He wrote, “It’s coal, it’s jobs, and it’s our tax base”.
“I encouraged President Trump to do something about it,” Mr. Whitley said. “Because I didn’t feel like anyone else could do anything about it, but he might.”
When the Defender published a second article detailing the agreement between the Sierra Club and DP&L calling for the closing of the two coal-fired plants, Mr. Whitley once again sent the story and a second letter to the president.
“I told him, ‘I’ve bought you a year’s subscription to our local paper, The People’s Defender’, so he would know what was going on here in our county.”
A short time later, Mr. Whitley received a response from the president which read:
“Thank you for your thoughtful suggestion on how to address important issues facing our nation. I am honored to work on behalf of all Americans to grow our economy, protect our citizens, and strengthen American leadership around the world. When America is united, there is no challenge too great. Together we will prosper, and we will get the job done. Thank you again for your suggestion. Sincerely, Donald Trump.”
Mr. Whitley said he was unsure which of his letters the president was answering.
“He’s got a lot going on right now, but unless the president intervenes we’re up the creek,” he said. “I hope he will intervene. If we could sit down and talk to him face to face, I think he would, but he’s got so much going on now. He ran against the Democrats and the establishment. I saw an awful lot of Trump signs all over the county, but I saw very few Clinton signs. We’re part of the ‘fly over country’ that put him in office, and he knows it. I think if we had a way to communicate with him we could convince him to intervene and do something for us because the loss of the plants is going to be devastating for this county.”