Though sympathetic to the plight of Sally Jessy Raphaël’s son, seriously injured in an automobile accident, readers were especially moved by the courage of 18-year-old John Thompson (PEOPLE, Feb. 3), who lost both arms in a farm accident but still managed to summon help on his own.
SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL
I’ve always admired Sally Jessy Raphaël’s radio and TV shows. Your article about her ordeal and her background shows her strength and endurance in any situation. I’m proud In be one of her many, many admirers. Continuing wishes for the speedy recovery of her son, J.J., as well as continued success, health, prosperity and love for Sally.
M.L. WILMORE, Baltimore
It is almost impossible to believe that with Sally Jessy Raphaël’s son lying in a coma—and she not knowing whether he would even live—she would read to him 14 ways for male orgasm from Playboy to make him smile. Why would any mother want to read sex trash to a son that she thought could be dying? Seems like she would be more concerned with “where” and “with whom” J.J. would be spending eternity.
DORIS CALLAHAN, Ladson, S.C.
The news of the demise of NBC Talknet, as reported in your article about Sally Jessy Raphaël, has been greatly exaggerated! While Sally did indeed depart our popular talk-radio network some five years ago, I am pleased to report that NBC Talknet is alive and well. Our network proudly celebrated its 10th anniversary this past November. The NBC Talknet hosts, Bruce Williams, Myrna Lamb, Lee Mirabal and Dr. Harvey Ruben, reach millions of listeners seven days a week on over 300 radio stations across America.
BILL LALLY, Director of Programming, NBC Talknet Radio Network, New York City
We regret the error.—ED.
I am 35 years old and have never, ever written a letter to a magazine, nor have I ever been compelled to before reading your article on John Thompson. Words cannot describe what that poor young man had to endure after that fateful farm-machinery accident. I have no doubt that the courage John showed will continue throughout his years of physical therapy. Hang in there, John. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
PAIGE KEITH, Wichita, Kans.
My heart goes out to John Thompson and his family. For a farm wife and mother, this is a worst fear come true. As careful as we try to be on the farm, the potential is always there for a tragedy that could change our lives forever.
DIANE FERDINABDO, Derry, N.H.
If you had only one story in this issue of PEOPLE, it would have been enough that it was the one on John Thompson. I now understand why my husband is constantly preaching at me to go slower on his tractor while feeding rolled hay to our cattle: Anything can happen. John, thank you, and God bless you—you have probably saved my life too!
DANA BRADLEY-WELLS, Richmond, Ky.
This article really hit home. I come from a farm family that is struggling to meet costs. Larry Thompson’s statement “It’s old equipment and doesn’t have the latest features” made me cry. My brother lost part of his vision while repairing “old equipment.” Buying new equipment was out of the question. Maybe because of this tragic accident, America will quit ignoring the plight of American farmers before they become extinct.
VIRGINIA S. MOSHOLDER, Greenville, Ohio
The article about John Thompson and his farm injury was heartrending. It does not, however, surprise those of us who work to reduce the injury and mortality rates on America’s farms. Far from its idyllic image, agriculture remain—the second most hazardous occupation in America. [Mining and quarrying is No. 1.] Estimates of up to 1,300 deaths and 120,000 injuries annually in agriculture have been provided by the National Safety Council in recent years. Perhaps John’s courage will ignite a serious call to America to reduce these tragedies.
THEODORE HALPIN JR., Cofounder, Farmedic, Caledonia, N.Y.
Although your article did not mention the cost of John’s medical care. I’m sure the Thompsons’ expenses must be astronomical. Where can donations be sent to help with the cost of John’s recovery?
SUE ELLIS, Boise, Idaho
Donations and good wishes may be sent to John Thompson and his family in care of: North Memorial Medical Center, 3300 North Oakdale, Robbinsdale, Minn. 55422.—ED.
Excuse me for not patting Pennsylvania lottery winner Ken Wayne on the back, but that $100,000 he gave to charter a plane to Moscow with food and medicine could have provided a lot of food to people right here in the United States. I feel for those people, I really do, but charity begins at home.
ROSEMARY INMAN, Bayville, N.J.
People like Jeffrey Dahmer make a good argument for the reinstatement of capital punishment—and not just in Wisconsin.
CHRIS CONNORS, Newport, R.I.