Employees at the Big Valley Power Lumber Mill received bad news Thursday morning when it was announced that 13 of the 21 workers at the lumber mill would no longer have a job.
According to Randy Brock, manager of the sawmill, 7 people would remain on the job, but only to clean up and shut the mill down in an orderly way. The power plant however is still in operation 24 hours a day and there are no plans to shut it down.
The power plant and mill has seen troublesome times in the past few years as much work was put into restoring it's operation. The power plant has been successfully generating electricity for some time now as it was the first division to become operational.
The operation has been beset by numerous problems, a disastrous fire in 2005, the death of a key employee in 2005 and numerous setbacks and schedule delays in rebuilding the saw mill. Just about the time the mill could operate, the U.S. economic downturn and housing crisis reduced the price of lumber below that where a profit could be made.
The one nice thing that happened to the workers was the delivery of pizza to the workers by the Big Valley Lions Club who had earlier this year voted as citizens of the year, all the workers at the power plant and lumber mill.
The Lions Club each year votes a resident of Big Valley as Citizen of the year and presents them with an award and a dinner or meal. This year the Lions Club decided to honor the "Common Man" instead of an individual because of the hard work these people have done trying to build the economy of the valley. It is sad that their efforts were not more successful, but the workers tried their best and cannot be responsible for the outcome, only their efforts. The picture above was taken at their "last meal" with Flora Gordon, president of the Big Valley Lions Club in purple at the left.
The future of the mill is unknown at this time but it it not dead yet. When and if lumber prices go up it could still become a viable industry for the valley. Economic times are rough and may well get worse. Let's hope for the best.