Noranda has played vital role in our region

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Change is virtually the only thing assured in our world. The problem, of course, is that change can be for good or bad depending on your viewpoint.

And here in our small neck of the woods, even the discussion of a shutdown of Noranda Aluminum is a most unwelcome and unwanted change.

Noranda has been a major player and an important part of the Bootheel landscape for 50 years or so.

It would be darned near impossible to accurately explain the importance of this amazing company to our region.

You can't argue with the employment opportunities that Noranda brought to our region. Their payroll in so many ways was the economic engine that fueled progress for thousands of families and businesses in the Missouri Bootheel and beyond.

But beyond the jobs, Noranda has always - from the very beginning - been an active player in the improvement and advancement of this region.

The charitable spirit of Noranda and especially the men and women who have worked there through the years has eclipsed all comparisons.

I can cite hundreds of examples, but let me mention just one.

For many years, I had the honor of serving as chairman for the annual Kenny Rogers Children's Center Telethon.

The goal of that telethon is to spread the message of hope and progress for the children served at the Center. But the reality is that the funds raised from the event were essential to the expansion and improvement of those services.

Each year without fail, we knew we could expect a miracle from the union members and management of Noranda. And each year without fail, those dedicated men and women came through with flying colors.

But that's but one example.

You would have to look far and wide to find any cause or need within this region that did not have the fingerprints of Noranda and its employees on it.

We hope and pray that a solution can be found to retain this outstanding company in our region. Perhaps their recent layoffs are a temporary bump in the road and perhaps our region can continue to enjoy the jobs, the charity and the reputation that Noranda has brought to our region.

We are dismayed that the forces in Jefferson City are not as passionate and engaged on a solution as we clearly are. We may lack the voting power and population of our urban centers but we deserve the very same level of concern as those areas enjoy.

To the employees of Noranda, know this. The citizens of this region will do whatever we can to help continue your legacy in Southeast Missouri.

We know the importance of Noranda to the our future. And we want nothing more than to continue our relationship for many years to come.

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