No. 1262



If we are going to make it in this old world, we need many things, and two of the most important things are encouragement and inspiration. I certainly need these things each day of my life, and when I don’t get them, my performance always suffers.
These thoughts came to mind when I decided to tell you about a man named Donn Wimmer, who owns and publishes the newspaper in Hawesville, Kentucky. He publishes my column in the Hancock Clarion. He had just read my column titled “A Real One Man Show” about Frank Datta, who owns the Wibaux Pioneer Gazette in Wibaux, Montana, and has been there for 63 years.
Here is what Donn said: “Reading your column about the newspaperman working at the same paper for 63 years reminds me of myself. But I’ve got that guy beat! While in high school I worked at the Hancock Clarion for three years. Afterwards I worked in newspapers in New Mexico and California as a printer. Later, with my mother and grandfather’s financial help, I purchased the Clarion in 1956, and I am still here after 64 years. I’ll soon be 85, am in good health and plan to remain so until it’s time to go. (He means to die).
“I absolutely love working with the community. Some of my history includes: being involved with the Jaycees, helped organize Hancock County’s Industrial Foundation, former president of our Chamber of Commerce, and as Hancock County’s Airport Chairman, I along with the help of our directors, led the way for our new airport which opened in 2008. Our airport has been very well accepted and with having 20 planes based here, this spring we begin the extension of our runway to five thousand feet. The airport is now self-sufficient, needing no financial help at all from the county.
“Over the years I’ve received so many awards that we can’t find room for them. Jaycee of the Year, Historian of the year, and the top award at the Kentucky Press Association Banquet sponsored by the Lexington Herald Leader; just to name a few. In 1967, I received my pilot’s license and advanced to my commercial license with an instrument rating. As of this month I’ve flown nearly 4,000 hours. My hobbies are reading, golf, hiking and of course my job at the Clarion. As you can see I’m patting myself on the back a bit. All be it, this is not for your column. (As you can see, I have overruled him.) Just thought it might interest you.
“Oh, and by the way I married the prettiest girl in school when we were both 16. They said, ‘That won’t last long!’ My wife, Juanita, and I celebrate our 69th anniversary next June. Juanita and I had three daughters and a son. Our oldest passed away May 19, 2018. What is the future of newspapers and the Clarion? The current outlook is concerning, but we fight tooth and toenail keeping it viable, and will continue to do so for many more years with our innovative circulation and advertising ideas. Thanks for reading. Donn.”
When I read that I thought to myself, “There is a man after my own heart.” There is so much in his story that inspires me that I can hardly restrain myself. He has so many things that I admire, like staying power, faithfulness, love of his community and her people, and being rewarded for doing something with his life other than making money. He told about having “innovative” ideas and that is what more of us need these days. As the old saying goes, “When the going gets tough, that is when the tough get going.” Thanks Donn. I will never forget you.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)