Friendships Continue Despite Plant Closure
Many people would probably tell you that the best part of going to work is the good relationship they have with their co-workers. Friendships are made. It's a camaraderie. Sometimes those friendships remain... even when the workplace closes down.
The Struthers Wells plant, in Warren, closed in 1993. After that, employees went their separate ways. Years passed. Then, something happened that brought the co-workers back together again.
It was the death of Lisa Card's father. He died in 2020. He worked at Struthers Wells for 25 years. The men with which he worked all those years made it a point to attend his funeral.
"This was pre-COVID,” recalls Lisa. “This was January 3rd, 2020. It was standing room only and there were people lined up outside the door that didn't get in. Even though he had worked at Struthers Wells 28 years previously, all the guys were there."
Lisa thought it was a shame that these co-workers, who were once very close-knit, saw each other only at funerals. She decided to organize a Struthers Wells reunion, where the former employees could catch-up and socialize in a happier occasion. The first reunion was held last year.
"Oh, it was fantastic,” says Joe Littlefield. “My wife and I, we had such a good time. Just seeing everybody."
Ralph Valone agrees.
"Wow, it's like Old Home Week, you know? Haven't seen them in years but the topics were right there. 'How you doing?’ and all the friendship stuff we did have. It was pretty neat."
80 people attended the inaugural reunion and another one is planned for this year on September 24. There was no doubt that the Struthers Wells reunion would be an annual event.
"There was no doubt in my mind that this is a good thing. After having it last year, the second one should go beautifully because everyone had such a good time,” says Craig Steinkamp.
Is it unusual for co-workers to become so close and now, years later, want to continue to be close? Or is this just a Struthers Wells thing? Or... a Warren thing?
Fred Chlopecki is a Former Vice President of Marketing at Struthers Wells.
"We had a lot of good places where we would go to eat and have a couple of drinks. We were always together. So, we became a family," he said.
"Of all the places that I've worked in my lifetime, I've never worked at a place like Struthers Wells,” says Littlefield. The camaraderie was out of this world. Great guys. Fantastic place to work."
The Struthers Wells reunion will be held on September 24, at 1 p.m. at the Starbrick Fire Hall.