The Dimes Keep Showing Up

Six or seven weeks ago super storm “Sandy” raged into the New Jersey and New York coast line and left a path of destruction never before seen in this area.  Houses that had never known water were destroyed by a tide that reached eighteen feet in some places. Hundred year old trees crashed down destroying homes and automobiles.  Torrents of water swept through places that had never experienced flooding, killing some people and chasing others to their attics.  Vehicles were swept away, subway and other tunnels filled with water, the city of Hoboken had two or more feet of water covering the entire town forcing people to wade for weeks after the storm left.  Sewer systems flooded, raw sewage flowed in the streets. 

My partner and I have had our printing plant located adjacent to Liberty State Park for more than 25 years and had never experienced flooding of any kind.  We went to the plant on Monday morning knowing the storm was predicted to arrive later in the day.  We doubled the pallets under our paper stock and put sand bags behind our truck dock doors confident that we’d be OK.  “Sandy” arrived right on schedule and, true to the predictions, devastated the coastline.  Tuesday morning arrived, Rosemary and I drove to the plant through more destruction than I had ever seen all the way from New Vernon to Jersey City.  Trees were down everywhere making many roads impassable but we zigged and zagged and eventually got to the plant. 

When we arrived, some of our employees were standing outside looking lost and confused. Entering the dark plant we were confronted with utter destruction, 1,000 pound skids of paper were broken open with loose sheets strewn all over the floor.  There remained about six inches of water throughout the plant and the nightmare scenario was compounded by darkness due to power outages that would last almost two weeks.  We found that the water levels inside the building had reached around three feet rendering much of our machinery useless and, perhaps, even beyond repair.  We were looking at 40 years of effort by a terrific team of people possibly destroyed by a storm that blew through our area for about twelve hours.

 What to do?  We never really asked the question.  We’re going to rebuild and restore and make it better than it was.  Weeks passed, the plant was cleaned up, tons of paper scrapped, machinery taken apart and rebuilt, work placed with new partners, new machinery ordered where necessary. We spent most of this time doing only what was in front of us.  It made no sense to project.  We were and are blessed with mechanics with whom we’ve had long relationships and they came quickly to our aid.  I have no idea where we would be without them. 

 I have known for decades that we have a fabulous team of workers here at The Wall Street Group but, even knowing how good they are, I underestimated them.  They are unparalleled and I respect each of them more and more every day.
 
Four or five weeks into this difficult time I was feeling a bit down and had apparently allowed fear of the future to creep into my head.  I was doing one of my many, daily walks around the plant and was passing one of our large Heidelberg presses when I saw a piece of shiny metal stuck in the ink and grime on the catwalk.  I bent over, picked it up and wiped the grease off it; it was a DIME and I knew immediately that I didn’t need to worry about the future.  Mom was telling me that all would be OK and I believe her.
 
(See previous entry entitled "Dimes")
 

 

Posted December 13, 2012

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