‘Yellowstone’ Actor Helps Brighten Gloomy Day in East Palestine

EAST PALESTINE – Despite the cold rain Friday morning, many village residents came out to pick up water filters and to meet the latest celebrity to drop by since the derailment – “Yellowstone” actor Luke Grimes.

Even after the 250 home water filtration devices were distributed, people continued to wait in line for a chance to meet and get their photo taken with Grimes.

Standing in the background were Jeff Ruby and his family, who own and operate Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, with the closest one three hours away in Columbus. The family, which is well-known for finding ways to give back to others for their success, organized Grimes’ visit.

Ruby, holding a cigar and wearing a patriotic coat, stood in the parking lot of another steakhouse, The Original Roadhouse in East Palestine. Nearby, aeration cleanup from the derailment continued as the area where Sulfur Run and Leslie Run creeks converge is just past the large bus they arrived in.

“Just look at these people here,” Ruby said, pointing to how many people came out to stand in the rain and how appreciative they were. “They needed the water filter. They needed some love. They needed to feel better themselves, and a little bit more optimistic than they were maybe an hour ago.”

Ruby pointed out meeting Grimes, who plays Kayce Dutton on “Yellowstone,” meant so much to the people who came, people he described as real people living in America.

“You know the saying it takes a village?” Ruby said. “Well, here’s that village.”

People wait in line for a chance to meet actor Luke Grimes in East Palestine on Friday.

Ben Burkett was one of those who waited in the rain for a chance to meet Grimes and get his photo taken. Burkett said he loves the show and came out at 6 a.m. to wait.

Likewise, Sandy Garver, who came with her daughter, Stephanie, said she could not sleep last night after learning Grimes was going to be in the area.

The home filtration devices might be considered primarily a safeguard for those needing a little peace of mind as weekly village testing shows the water is safe.

Ruby and his family not only brought Grimes and water filtration items, but also a check for $100,000. 

“I would like to thank Luke Grimes and the Ruby family for all their help, the donations, the Hershey family, too, for their donation of the water filters,” said Mayor Trent Conaway. “The gift of the water filters and the money for the chamber of commerce will help residents and small businesses hopefully start to move forward.”

It has been nearly two months since the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, which led to evacuations and uncertainty for many of those in line Friday.

Pictured at top: “Yellowstone” actor Luke Grimes, center, poses for a photo with Sandy Garver, right, and her daughter, Stephanie, in East Palestine on Friday.

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