After mayor’s defeat, son praises father

On May 24, in an editorial written by this newspaper, some very unkind and unnecessary remarks were made about my father, Joseph Dodson, the mayor of Hollidaysburg.

Let me preface my response by agreeing that my father can, at times, be loud, gruff, abrasive and direct. As he likes to say, “up front.”

I take exception with the characterization that my father “demeaned” his opponent in his election night comments.

Being his usual “up front” self, my father spoke from his heart and he spoke the truth – a refreshing approach from the vast majority of today’s elected officials.

Was my father disappointed that he lost? Certainly. Who enters any contest to lose? Show me a loser who is happy with losing, and I will show you, that’s right, a loser.

After eight years of pouring his heart and soul into being a mayor of all the people, he expressed his hurt about having lost a very close race. Perhaps we’d be better off if all of our public officials spoke the truth.

President Lincoln himself said it, “Honesty is the best policy.” Why have we strayed so far from that belief?

Most likely the answer is because the truth makes some uncomfortable when it should do just the opposite.

Like all of us, my father also has another side, one that some people – like the author of the editorial in question – either choose to dismiss or refuse to see and certainly have never bothered to report in this paper.

By turning a blind eye to this side of my father, the Mirror’s editorial demeaned and dismissed him.

Mayor-elect Stultz believes the mayor should be a “goodwill ambassador.”

Well, for eight years my father was the eyes, ears and voice of all the people in Hollidaysburg Borough.

It made no difference on what side of the tracks you lived, when you called the mayor you got a listening ear, a voice and advocate at the table, and more often than not, your request was fulfilled or your problem solved.

On his hands and knees my father has pulled weeds in borough parks, planted flowers, trimmed hedges, cleared brush and watered shrubs. He’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for numerous projects and causes.

Ask the borough manager himself if there would have been a 175th anniversary celebration in Hollidaysburg without the $14,000 that was raised singlehandedly by my father.

Every Christmas season, Dad turned the mayor’s office into a veritable Santa’s workshop from which he dispensed hundreds of toys, games, stuffed animals and sporting goods to needy families within the borough, thereby guaranteeing that scores of children, over the past seven years, have had a Christmas – all because of my father’s tireless efforts, his generous spirit and his loving heart.

Joe Dodson, a goodwill ambassador? You bet, in every sense of the term.

Kirk J. Dodson, Duncansville