MEET DON BLANKENSHIP
My life, like most of yours, has had its ups and downs. My father and my mom each worked 80 to 90 hours per week, which taught me to be independent at a very early age.
As the saying goes, we were poor but didn’t know it. We had an outhouse that was nicer than the one most of our neighbors had. We always had shoes. My mom was a McCoy, although not directly related to those who feuded with the Hatfield’s in the hills of Kentucky where I was born.
My early years were occupied by baseball, pumping gasoline into coal miners’ cars at our family gas station, and watching Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, Bonanza, Wagon Train, and Rawhide – that is, after we got our first television when I was seven years old. The town I lived in most of my first 18 years was Delorme, West Virginia, population of 400 at the time – now maybe 200.
My first six years of schooling was at Delorme grade school. It too had an outhouse, but the water system was better than at home. It had a hand pump, so you didn’t have to use a bucket to get the water out of the well. The three things I remember most were the pot belly coal stove, the fact that you could only use two perforations of toilet paper, that there were six of us in my grade, and 36 total in six grades. I also remember that all thirty-six of us would line up outside the school most mornings to sing “God Bless America” and say the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Later, when I went to middle school/high school in Matewan, West Virginia, there were 700 students and 119 in my class. I remember being scared that I would get lost changing classes, but I never did. I managed to graduate second in my class. Although I didn’t want to be, I was elected President of the student body — my first political experience. The school had steam radiator heat which was fueled by a coal furnace, drinking fountains, and indoor toilets.
Next, it was on to Marshall University. I was there when the football team was killed in the plane crash in 1970. This was my first experience with a horrific tragedy. Of course, the worst tragedy of my life was the day of the Massey mine explosion on April 5, 2010. I also have vivid memories of the day President Kennedy was shot, and of course of 9/11. Those were three heartbreaking days to be sure.
At Marshall I skipped more classes than I attended, but still managed to get a four year degree in three years. The first summer break I worked washing cars, and in later summers I worked in the coal mines to pay my tuition. I graduated in 1972 “without” honors, but took the CPA exam and passed all four parts the first time.
The following ten years I worked in the food industry with Keebler Company, then Flower’s Industry. I received each promotion that was available to me during those ten years. This meant that I had to move often, living in Chattanooga, Macon, Chicago, Denver, and in Thomasville, Georgia. In Denver, I met Mary and got married, and later had two children, Jennifer and John. Today I have three grandchildren, Marilynn, Emmalynn, and Arabella.
In 1982, I came to work for Massey Coal Company and was there until December 2010. Again, I received every promotion available to me during those years. I learned about, and struggled against, the ignorance and evilness of the United Mine Workers, much of the media, the “greeniacs,” and much of corporate America.
I retired in 2010 and have since spent much of my time managing my finances and enjoying time with family.
In short, my life has been a great one. I experienced the cold chill of an Appalachian outhouse in January winters, but I have also dined at the dinner tables of some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, including at the White House private dining table. Hopefully I can communicate to you my wide range of life experiences and what they have taught me, and in doing so, I can make a small contribution to saving our Country.
As you reflect on what I write, remember that even Robert Kennedy Jr., said that I am an honest man. You should also know that I hold not only the liberals of the media, the union, and the environmental movement responsible for the plight of our country, but also those who call themselves conservatives who oversee corporate America. Many of these corporate executives too often place the pledge they sign each quarter to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley above their much more important “Pledge of Allegiance” to the United States of America and to that for which it stands.
Since the initial development of this website, I was indicted by now former US Attorney Booth Goodwin in the southern district of West Virginia and charged with conspiring to willfully violate mine safety laws, falsifying Security and Exchange Commission filings and issuing a false press release. The charges carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
After a trial that lasted 27 days, the jury then deliberated for two weeks before reaching a verdict. I was found not guilty of all felonies, and guilty of a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy with no intent to defraud the United States.
The trial Judge Irene Berger sentenced me to the full maximum: one year in prison, a $250,000 fine, and one-year probation.
I served my sentence at Taft Federal Correctional Institution in California.
Thank you for visiting this website.