Here's What We Saw in East Palestine

Photo by Kevin Downey, Jr.

Though the tragedy in East Palestine has been overshadowed in the news by banks crashing and the Biden family getting caught with millions of Chinese communist dollars Trump’s impending arrest, the small town in eastern Ohio is still reeling from the derailment or — more accurately — the spilling of toxic waste, much of which is still sitting in the town’s backyard, and the burning of toxic chemicals, which, as one local put it, “was burnt because they didn’t want to clean their own damn mess.”


I’ve written about East Palestine’s tragedy here at PJ Media and have spoken about it a great deal on The Kevin Downey, Jr. Show at, which you can listen to every Monday-Friday from 10:00-11:00 am. But then I decided that, rather than write — or talk — about the situation, it was time to do something.

My fiancée Jessica and I, with the help of friends and patriotic folks who listen to my radio show, loaded up Jess’s SUV with water, pet food, Gatorade, V8, and Capri Suns and headed to Ohio.

FACT-O-RAMA! Eastern Ohio is “Trump country,” so Jessica and I decided it was safe to wear some Trump swag. She wore a pink-on-black “Women for Trump” cap. I sported a “Sons of Trump” hoodie and a MAGA hat. You can’t go wrong with the classics.

We drove for eight hours and slept Friday night at Truck World, a truck stop we love that has an Irish bar called “Erin’s Pub,” which is exactly 15 steps away from our motel. We caught the last call at Erin’s and drank briefly with rowdy truckers.

DOG-O-RAMA! Truck World also has a 24-hour, cash-only hotdog stand which comes in handy after getting plowed with truck drivers.

East Palestine is a small, older town of fewer than 5,000 people, located about 20 miles south of Youngstown and roughly 40 miles north and a bit west of Pittsburgh. There are paintings of dog prints on the downtown sidewalks in honor of their local high school team, the Bulldogs.

East Palestine isn’t fancy. You’ll see more folks wearing Carhartt than Versace. You can rent a three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom house in East Palestine for about $1,000 — or less — per month. Everyone in town seems to know everyone else.


COLLOQUILISM-O-RAMA! In this region of the country, you may hear people say “yinz.” It means “y’all” as in “Are yinz going to Yankee Lake tomorrow?”

The road into town is peppered with “Trump 2024” flags, and signs that read “East Palestine …we Won’t be derailed.”

Photo by Kevin Downey, Jr.

The only Biden flags I saw all ended with the word “Suck!”

Though we were fortunate enough to arrive on the same day as the 1st Annual Jeep Invasion — resulting in dozens of Jeeps with license plates from numerous states, which brought a little enthusiasm — the town still seemed to be under an umbrella of uncertainty.

We met with members of The Way Station, Inc. at the First United Presbyterian Church. A kind, friendly woman (I’ll call her Grace) looked at our haul and asked us to place the supplies on a pallet. Jessica told her we also had dog and cat food.

“Oh, the people love pet food,” Grace exclaimed.

We dropped off our supplies at the church and began to speak to some of the locals. I asked a man I’ll call Rich what the Norfolk Southern railroad — the company that owns the cars that derailed — did first after the derailment.

“They fixed one of the two tracks that were damaged. That was their first order of business, to get back to business.”

Rich then told me there was a mountain of contaminated soil sitting, waiting to be taken away, but no one will have it.

“It was supposed to go to Michigan but they didn’t want it. We don’t where it’s gonna go. Now it’s just sitting there.”


FOOTBALL-O-RAMA! Ohio State and the University of Michigan — in my Detroit opinion — share the greatest football rivalry in college history.

Photo by Kevin Downey, Jr.

After unloading the supplies, we asked Grace and Rich if they could direct us to a local diner. They recommended Sprinklz on Top.

“You’re safe with your hats. This is Trump country,” Grace laughed.

As we sat down in the diner to watch the parade of Jeeps and catch a bite, I overheard a woman near the window watching the Jeep parade say, “It’s nice to see some energy in town. It hasn’t been like this for a while.”

Minutes later, a homeless-looking man came in and went full Daniel Webster on the diners.

“Is anyone here from East Palestine?” he bellowed loudly. A few people raised their hands.

“This tragedy is the result of greed and corruption, and I believe…”

At this point, a man I’ll call Chuck, in his early 60s and sporting farm muscles, stopped him.

“Sir, we don’t want negativity. We’ve had a lot. Today is a positive day in town. We want to keep it that way.”

The man seemed shocked.

“You don’t want to talk about the greed and the…”

“No, we don’t sir. Am I wrong?” Chuck asked aloud. Everyone applauded. The homeless man left.

After breakfast, we went to the counter to pay.

“You don’t have a check,” the young waitress told us. Then another woman behind the counter chimed in, “We got a call. Your money’s no good here.”


Thank you, Grace and Rich!

Jessica and I walked around town — dodging the well-intended yet annoying homeless-looking man who seemed hell-bent on riling people up.

FEAR PORN-O-RAMA! The only person I saw wearing a mask was a reporter from a local news outlet.

A woman in a curiosity shop caught a glimpse of our Trump gear and said, “I like your hats. Do you really think they’ll arrest him?”

‘Yes,” I responded, “and I think it had to be this way. The country needs to see the rot that is in our politics.”

Related: Why Trump Needed to ‘Lose’ the 2020 Election

Another man immediately jumped in, “It is rotten and everyone needs to see it. I never wanted to get involved in politics. But now I do, and it’s rotten.”

“Me too” added another woman. “I never cared either. Now I do.”

“When people who never wanted to get involved, get involved, things happen,” I responded. “Good things for us, bad things for them.” Suddenly, we had a town hall meeting going on in the candle section of a mom-and-pop shop. Fortunately, the homeless orator was elsewhere.

What did we learn?

Jessica and I learned that, though East Palestine is no longer in the headlines, its troubles are far from over. East Palestinians are resilient, but citizens are worried about their soil and water — and their futures. A sign next to the train tracks flashes ads for toxicology tests.


The people of East Palestine are grateful for the outpouring of supplies and well-wishes from the rest of the country. We weren’t the only people bringing in water and food — far from it.

No one is expecting Gropey Joe Biden to show up. I’m guessing the folks of East Palestine would just consider him more toxic waste to ship out of town.

If yinz want to donate to the relief effort in East Palestine, please contact The Way Station, Inc.


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