MAYOR WARNS THAT MANY BUSINESSES AND THE TOWN'S HOSPITAL COULD CLOSE WITH THE LOSS OF 8,000 DHL JOBS IN WILMINGTON, OHIO - "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
Scott Pelley Reports from an American Town in the Path of the Economic Storm
The town of Wilmington, Ohio, lies square in the path of the terrible economic storm sweeping America. Many of its small businesses and the town's hospital could close because overnight carrier DHL is ceasing its American domestic courier service. This move is leading to the gradual shuttering of its U.S. hub, eliminating an estimated 10,000 jobs - the economic bedrock of this town of 12,000. Scott Pelley's report on Wilmington will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday Jan. 25 (7:00-8:00 Pm, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Mayor David Raizk has been getting a regular report from DHL on the rising number of people laid off since last summer. The "Airpark," as the DHL hub is known, shuts down its domestic operations next week. "I think one in five small businesses will fail or could fail," he says. With an Airpark worker in one of every three households, thousands of Wilmington residents are due to lose their jobs.
The fact that many of those laid-off citizens will lose their health insurance compounds the hurt, says Raizk. "Eight million dollars worth of revenue for our local hospital was derived from the insurance. Now if you take away that $8 million, plus how much charity care is going to increase because people don't have insurance, and you could put the hospital out of business," Raizk tells Pelley.
The dreams of many Wilmington Airpark workers are also disappearing. Geri Lynn Thomas saw her hours cut in half, depriving her of the means to send her son to college - an educational level neither she nor her husband attained. "So you just have to start doing and you do without things...your son drops out of college early. You just do what you have to do," says Thomas. "It was my dream for my kids to have better than I had, but now they are not going to."
"Are we going to lose our home? Are we going to be able to pay our property taxes," asks Mike O'Machearley, who stands to lose the DHL job that has helped support four children, one of whom died in Iraq. "What are we going to do for insurance? What are we going to do for food? These are questions that you'd never think that we'd ask," he tells Pelley.
These are not the questions associated with the American dream, but in this town in the middle of America, they weigh heavily on peoples' minds. "Call it ground zero, Wilmington is ground zero," says O'Machearley. "We've got to get back to being America....because...we're losing...sight of what my son died for....We're losing sight of it. We need to fight hard to get it back." Click here for an excerpt.