May 4 victim attends Obama’s speech


Laura Fong

Kent State alumnus Dean Khaler, who was shot on May 4th, 1970, was in attendance at Wednesday’s campaign rally at Kent State. Photo by Laura Fong.

Rex Santus

On May 4, 1970, Dean Kahler was left paralyzed from the waist down after a National Guardsman shot him.

On Sept. 26, 2012, the former Kent State student sat in the M.A.C. Center in a crowd of about 6,600 people during a speech by President Barack Obama.

“I’ve shaken three presidents’ hands now,” Kahler said. “[Obama] hit on all the right issues and was able to bring the crowd to their feet several times. He has the right message for America so we can move forward.”

Kahler, now in his early 60s, said he believes in Obama because of the president’s stance on Medicare. Kahler wants to make sure he can care for himself when he gets older.

“As a former steel worker, I understand the need to have good-paying jobs … with benefits, so we can raise a family and have a house,” he said. “I’m on the crutch of my Medicare years — here in another year or so … [Obama] wants to make sure we have strong Medicare … so that we can actually take care of ourselves in our elderly years.”

Aside from the president’s speech, Kahler said he was thrilled simply because Obama chose Kent — of all places — to visit.

“The presidents go to places like Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown — they don’t come to Kent,” Kahler said. “It was an honor. Being an [alumnus] here, it’s an honor the president came. I’m so happy that I had the privilege to see the president here in my old memorial gym.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].