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In support of John Gamble

To the editor:

This is the first time that I’ve ever written such a letter, but I have a few things that need to be stated. First off, my name is Richard Allan Blythe, and I’m from East Liverpool, but have moved out of the area some time ago. No matter how long I’ve been gone or where my travels have taken me, I always try to keep an eye on the happenings in Columbiana County as well as in Ohio, because no matter how far I’m physically away from Ohio, I’m always going to be a Buckeye and more importantly a Penguin.

I must first preface this by stating that John Gamble didn’t ask, nor is he aware that I’m writing this letter. I’m doing so because I feel in my heart that there are some things that need to be shared with all of you about the type of man that I know John Gamble to be, not just what has been reported (incorrectly or inaccurately) by the news/social media. Most of you are only familiar with him due to his role as the Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Columbiana County. However, I know the man for much more than that. 

To give a brief overview of how John and I have come to have the close friendship is that John handled his first murder prosecution back in 1991, when he was given the case of Edna Marie Blythe, my mother, who was brutally murdered at the hands of Martin Thompson. John did a masterful job of prosecuting Thompson, and also he kept my family aware of all of the details of the investigation, prosecution, conviction, all the while handling us with nothing but the utmost respect under those circumstances.

Fast forward to around 2010, I asked a friend of mine to put me in contact with John because Thompson was coming up for parole and I wanted to know if the Prosecutor’s Office would provide some type of letter or notification opposing Thompson’s release. So when I contacted Gamble, he indicated that he would do better than that, and that he would attend the hearing with the family to ensure that our message was reinforced and supported. John was not just a one and done, he’s traveled back to Columbus with the family for all subsequent parole hearings and as a result, Thompson has yet to be released.

As initially stated, I’m writing to share with all of you that there is much more to the man than just a suit, tie, and a title. John and I have grown to have a deeply respectful, trustworthy, confident, Christian relationship that extends far beyond his vocation. I know John to be a brutally honest and trustworthy individual who truly cares for his fellow man. He is the type of rare man who has continued to evolve not just in his craft and manhood, but most importantly in his walk with God, which is one of the most important aspects of our relationship.

We’ve had conversations on how his outlook of his job and life have evolved as he’s aged and as his relationship with Christ has grown. I can remember once while I was in Ohio I invited John to play golf. I arrived early and just went ahead and paid for both of us. No big deal I thought. Once we finished John was quick to pull out cash insisting to pay for his round not wanting to accept anything that might’ve appeared inappropriate. He then asked me if I minded if he attended my home church on that Sunday with me and my family, and we worshiped at Sheridan AME in ELO. Also, a few times when John need to get away for a weekend, he’s visited me and we’ve further developed a strong Christian brotherhood that surpasses anything he’s done for my family.

In this current election cycle, we see that not only on the national level but even in local politics, candidates have been misquoted, misrepresented, and even castigated. I’m not a politician or a pundit and it doesn’t really matter if I’m a Democrat or Republican, but what matters is that I know the true character of John Gamble.

A good friend of mine was telling me about some of the tactics that have been employed in this local race against John which has led me to write this letter in total support of John Gamble. I too have been reading the news outlets online and frankly, it’s a shame and I’m saddened that everything including the kitchen sink has been thrown in the direction of John in an effort to derail him from being elected by the people and for the people of Columbiana County.

None of us are without sin and none of us are perfect, and it is not my intent to discount any opponent in the race, but to only express my steadfast support, respect, encouragement, and love for John Gamble in his effort to be elected and to continue to serve all the citizens of Columbiana County. I’m no Bible scholar and I’ve only read it three times, but if my mind serves me right, there is a little passage in the book of John (ironic), Chapter 8:7 that clearly states something along the lines, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”

In closing, I reiterate my unwavering support for John Gamble in his effort to be elected as the next Prosecuting Attorney for Columbiana County. He is the type of man for all of the citizens who will not succumb to external political pressures, and I know that he will be ultimately led by his faith, which is what more of us might want to consider.

Richard Allan Blythe,

East Liverpool

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