Council should honor Obici vision

Published 10:16 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

To the editor:

Amedeo Obici came to America as a poor immigrant youth. He died a giant success, having founded Planters Peanuts.

Along his life’s journey, Obici generously gave back to his hometown of Oderzo, Italy, and his adopted home of Suffolk, Va. In both communities, he built hospitals that all citizens could go to in time of need without fear of being turned away.

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On a visit to Oderzo, I had need of medical treatment when a reaction to food caused potentially life-threatening symptoms. Our friends took me to Amedeo Obici Hospital, where I, a foreigner, was treated as if I were a citizen of the city. Obici’s gift is still giving.

In Suffolk, the old hospital is gone, but his gift still remains: the land, the beautiful land. However this gift now stands threatened by builders — not developers, as God has already developed this land — who have proposed to construct 220 units of apartments.

If this is allowed to happen, an environment would be destroyed and Obici’s gift to us all would be gone forever. Its lost potential for the citizenry would be a thorn in our sides that caused us all to ask why we didn’t see the truth of what we had.

A visionary City Council can hear the people and act for the next hundred years with a vote that says no to unnecessary construction and yes to a vision that will honor the legacy of Amedeo Obici.

Morgan C. Wilson Jr.