NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Viewers have shown their support all day for WKBN 27 First News chief meteorologist Don Guthrie in public and on social media.
Literally hundreds of pictures and messages have been sent in, or shared, using #Purple4 Don in honor of his 44th anniversary at the station and his fight with pancreatic cancer. Thanks to social media, signs of support came flooding in, not just from Youngstown, the Mahoning Valley, and the state of Ohio, but from all corners of the country.
And a sea of purple washed over Monday night’s Mahoning Valley Scrappers game at Eastwood Field in Niles.
“This is something that affects everyone, and everyone has their own personal story,” Mahoning Valley Scrappers box office manager Stephanie Novak said.
Throughout the day, hundreds of purple pictures were tweeted, tagged, shared and liked by a Congressman, local business leaders, a former intern now in South Carolina, and colleagues spread out across newsrooms nationwide.
In downtown Youngstown, Guthrie’s name was in lights at the DeYor Performing Arts Center and on the mind of Mayor John McNally at city hall.
“We were happy to get involved. Don is certainly a fixture in our community, not only in the city of Youngstown, but the entire Mahoning Valley,” McNally said.
“Oh, I have watched Don Guthrie for years. Actually, I get chills thinking about it,” Tom Byers of Girard said.
“He’s just a fantastic person. He’s always been there for everyone else and I am happy that we can be there for him as much as we can,” First News meteorologist Paul Wetzl said.
“I know it’s not much, but for him, it means the world to him I think and that is what is so incredible with seeing this outpouring of support coming in,” First News meteorologist Ryan Halicki said.
And even though our “Wear Purple for Don Day” is done, viewers can still share photos, prayers and pick-me ups on social media with #purple4don. Or, viewers can just say “hey!.”
“Hey, Don. On behalf of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, we all wish you the best of luck on your journey,” Novak said.
“Hey Don. How ya doing? This building is a sea of purple. Happy 44th anniversary, buddy. We all miss you and we hope to see you back real soon,” WKBN general manager Dave Coy said.
Don and his wife Debbie said they were overwhelmed by all the support and sent this letter via email:
To the WKBN Viewing Audience:
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the incredible outpouring of love and support over these past few months. As you can imagine, this a very difficult time for us, but the cards, letters, book, pictures, and gifts we have received have given us strength on this very difficult journey. We especially appreciate all the prayers. Just knowing how very many people are keeping us in their prayers has kept us going. We are absolutely overwhelmed by all the affection and concern that you have showered on us. We feel as if we are wrapped in love. To say thank you seems inadequate. We are so grateful to all of you and we feel blessed to have so many wonderful friends.
Don and Debbie Guthrie
Amanda and Russ Frederick