FLANGING 94

I don’t know the new owners very well.  There are two, Wendell Bell and Dave Hershey.  Wendell Bell has come out to our shop several times to talk with us.  He seems a personable guy, friendly and gracious.  I don’t remember ever meeting Dave Hershey.  All I know about him is he was involved in a serious boating accident.

I did meet one of his sons.  That first spring, in 2003, when hardly anyone was working at the Sharonville plant, I noticed a young guy out cleaning up the yard.  He swept and picked up broken-up skids and other pieces of wood, metal strapping, any debris that was out there.  I asked my foreman, Larry F., who he was, and he said it was Dave Hershey’s son.  Apparently he had done something to badly upset his father, and coming out here to do helper work was his punishment.  I guess that was a good thing, to give a young man from a wealthy family a taste of manual labor.

But I don’t think it’s a good thing to make simple physical labor a punishment.  There is certainly nothing wrong with any kind of honest labor.  I have known several men who performed such tasks while suffering from extreme physical or mental impairments.  Mark K. comes to mind.  He worked all his life with a mental handicap I’m sure he could easily have gotten a disability for.  Not only worked, but raised a family.  There was also Scotty.  He was severely injured, yet continued to work at whatever the company could give him to do.  And there was this little guy, I forget his name (Jerry, I need you!), but his spine was so badly twisted he could hardly stand, let alone work.  And he did whatever chores he could handle at work, until his doctor forced him to quit.  I’m sure there have been others.  Men who would rather keep working at whatever they could handle, rather than live off disability payments.

So no labor is so lowly as to be considered a punishment.  If simple tasks are all a physically or mentally handicapped person can do, then that person, and the rest of us, are better off with them performing this work.  Rather than giving up and drawing a pension.

Of course, I never knew any of the owners from Trinity.  I saw some of them parade through the shop.  They wouldn’t deign to talk to any of us.  In fact, this one guy was surrounded by so many assistants you couldn’t get near him.  Now the Hocks were approachable.  But you didn’t want to approach Alvin Jr.  He had a wicked tongue, you were better off staying away.  And if he had anything to say to you, he wouldn’t.  He’d go to the shop supervisor and tell him, and you’d hear it from the office.  While his brother Paul was just the opposite.  He often came up to talk to us.  He was open and friendly.  His son Jeff is the same, very approachable and agreeable.

Of course, I was much younger when I knew the Hocks.  I was in my fifties when Enerfab bought us.  I’m sure I’m not as friendly or agreeable as I used to be.  So it’s probably my fault as much as anybody’s that I don’t know much about Enerfab’s owners.

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