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Tonawanda Coke owner deserves our respect

I feel compelled to write regarding J.D. Crane, owner of Tonawanda Coke. He is a consummate gentleman, both decent and honorable. He has achieved the status of “self-made” because of a superb work ethic for some 75 years. Much of his business has been operated by a handshake. He has been tough but fair to management and unions alike. He is a great family man and has instilled in his family his work ethic. Crane could have easily retired some 30 years ago, but instead decided to continue and grow in business in the Buffalo area and in other states.

During his business years, he has employed literally thousands of people, and in the Buffalo area has employed hundreds of residents and provided vital income and growth to our community. He has enabled generations of families a good living and the ability to afford good housing and education for their children. He should be applauded and respected.

Crane has extended himself generously to both local and international charities. He is not a fat cat. He lives and participates on a no-frills working farm in the Buffalo area.

Coke production is a dirty business. Steel cannot be made without coke. There used to be several hundred coke plants in the United States. Today there are only a handful, the Tonawanda plant being one of the best-run facilities in the country. The fact of the matter is that the United States needs a bigger world presence in the steel industry. It would be a great shame to lose or cripple such an important facility.

Whatever the final ruling of the court may be, I am sure Crane will make every attempt to have Tonawanda Coke meet its responsibility.

Jeffrey Meilman, M.D.

Williamsville