The lead piece on 60 Minutes last Sunday painted a heartbreaking portrait of just a few of the millions of working Americans who are on the brink of financial disaster - collateral damage of our cratering economy.
“The Winter of our Hardship,” anchored by Scott Pelley and produced by Solly Granatstein and Nicole Young, looked at the plight of DHL workers in Wilmington, OH, a small town in the northwestern corner of the state that was visited by both John McCain and Sarah Palin in the final months of the 2008 presidential campaign.
DHL has employed one quarter of the residents of Wilmington, where the company had a U.S. hub that operated out of a former Air Force base.
Since the election, the situation of many Wilmingtonians has gone from bad to worse. On Nov. 10, DHL announced that it would shut down U.S. operations, which meant that about 3,000 DHL workers would lose their jobs.
Once of them is Mike Earley, a father of four who is helping to care for a grandchild. Earley’s son Steven Conover was killed in Iraq in 2003 during the bloody battle for Fallujah. Earley is not taking his new status among the ranks of America’s growing unemployed laying down.
As the 60 Minutes piece noted, he is trying to stay afloat by making and selling custom-made hunting knives.
After watching the piece, I wanted to order a whole clutch of Earley’s hunting knives - although I don’t hunt and I don’t know what I would do with them.
And I was not alone.
According to an article in Tuesday’s Wilmington News-Journal, Earley has been inundated with knife orders, many of them from veterans.
“I went from yesterday worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills, to today going, ‘Thank you God,’” Earley told the paper. “I’ve got over a year’s worth of orders right now. One person said, ‘Put me down for 10 at least.’”
It’s a sliver of good news in the midst of so much sadness.
And, he’s still taking orders.