As the federal buyout of the Tar Creek Superfund site continues, one Picher business owner has vowed to stay open until the very end. Last month, the federal government began making offers for homes and businesses in the lead and zinc contaminated town. No one is sure exactly how long the buyout will take, but a local pharmacist promises to remain until the lights go out. The News On 6â€™s Chris Wright was in Picher on Monday. He reports how one man's stand has garnered national attention.
Just as he has for the past 30 years, Gary Linderman spent his day filling prescriptions and taking calls. The pharmacist has built a loyal following over the decades, and the visitors to his Ole Miners Pharmacy have become more than just customers.
"They're not clientele. Everyone who comes here are friends or family," said pharmacist Gary Linderman.
Unfortunately, the pharmacy is now a rarity in Picher's downtown. Most of the businesses in town have already shut their doors and boarded up their windows. Gary's pharmacy remains open, and he vows to be the last man standing. Despite a dwindling population, and a buyout that will eventually close down Picher, the pharmacist has decided to stay in town. That commitment earned Gary an article in this week's â€œPeople.â€ Titled â€œPrescription for Kindness,â€ it lauds Gary for continuing to provide people with medicine.
His regulars believe he deserves the attention.
"We come over about once a month. He answers all of my questions, I've known him since â€˜77 when he started in Picher," Ole Miners customer Glenda Powell said.
Without him, residents would have to travel to Miami or across the state line into Kansas to fill their prescriptions. He says his customers have stood by him over the years, and the least he can do is stick around.
"If they like you or love you, they'll do anything in the world for you. They'll support you to the very end. They didn't like you, you better find another location," Linderman said.
They like Gary in Picher, and he'll put off finding another location for as long as possible. Linderman also makes house calls, often driving as far as 30 miles to deliver medicine to customers too sick to come to his pharmacy. He says he may eventually re-locate his business to Miami.
Watch the video: Oklahoma Business Owner Featured In National Magazine
10/3/2006 Group Gets Buyout Requests From Tar Creek Area
10/15/2006 Residents Of Mine-Polluted Ottawa County Town Preparing For Buyout
11/13/2006 Officials To Give Tar Creek Buyout Information
12/19/2006 Appraisals Begin For Tar Creek Federal Buyout
2/12/2007 Voters Deciding Fate Of School District
2/12/2007 Tar Creek Trust Says Land Was Given Away
3/3/2007 Oklahoma Town Is A Toxic Waste Site
4/7/2007 Delay In Offers, Low Assessments Worry Some Tar Creek Residents
5/10/2007 Tar Creek Buyout Continues Amid Funding Concerns
5/18/2007 Tar Creek Pollution Called Regional Problem