CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Coach Yogi Kinder remembers when Don Blankenship led the drive for a new football field at the old Matewan High School, and when Blankenship made sure the team’s players “stayed in nice hotels and ate at the best restaurants” on trips to the state playoffs.
“To this day, I have kids talking about our football trips, some of which would have never, and have not since, experienced such trips,” Kinder said. “I am just scratching the surface of things he has done for our community, and only from the football aspect.”
Kinder described Blankenship’s generosity in one of more than 100 letters the former Massey Energy CEO’s criminal defense lawyers sent this week to U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger.
Civic leaders, friends, family members and former employees describe Blankenship as having frequently opened his wallet for local health clinics, annual Christmas parties for area children, and all manner of school and community groups…