Earlier this year Mary Grace adopted a Boxer Bull Dog from the Animal Shelter in Sumter to replace one that died. Since I was going to be in Sumter for a meeting, I went by the shelter, saw the animal, and suggested to Mary Grace that that the dog (Morgan) would make a good pet. Boy, did I miscalculate that decision. Upon arriving in Salters, Morgan proved to be a very anxious, insecure dog. She stayed in the dog house for days, would just come out to eat, and only if no one was around. Morgan appeared to be leash trained but if not walking she would actually lean against the person at the other end of the leash as if needing emotional support. Actually it was so bad that Mary Grace asked Dr. Cottingham’s office if they could give Morgan anxiety medication. The office suggested that Morgan be given more time to adapt to her new home. Morgan has a terrible scar on the top of her head that makes us question if she was mistreated and abused by a previous owner. For sure, something happened to this dog that made her lose complete trust in humans. Eventually Morgan was allowed out of the pen and from there she moved into the woods behind the house. No one ever saw her except when it was time to eat and then she would only go to her food when no one was around. She was pitiful. Since Bunny and I live next door to Mary Grace our animals are always together. This summer I would see Morgan early in the morning in my yard playing with the other dogs looking relaxed and content. Trying to gain her trust, I would go outside and give all the dogs a treat. At first Morgan would only run away. After some time she would come closer, get her treat, and then run away. This little routine has been going on every morning for the past three months and I am finally making progress. When I go outside she is the first animal I see and she is always waiting for her treat. She is friendly, gentle, and eager to eat out of my hand. At last Morgan is ready to accept the gift of trust.
Last week I received a news release from a friend concerning a $36 million infrastructure and capacity increase that Firestone is making at the Prescott Arkansas Plant. (For those of you who are not familiar with this plant, this is where our local Firestone jobs went.) According to the article the improvement is needed to further strengthen Firestone’s ability to respond to customer demands. Already the world’s largest EDPM manufacturing plant, the new 18,000 square foot addition will significantly increase production of EDPM membrane and accessories and will support growth strategy for the commercial construction market. The addition will include the replacement of equipment and will add 100 jobs. The ribbon cutting will be in early October.
As I thought about Morgan and her learning to trust, I remembered how Williamsburg County and its residents trusted Firestone. For seventeen years, Firestone was our friend by not only providing jobs for our people, but they were one of the most benevolent benefactors in the community. Firestone’s employees participated in local events; and their corporate contributions supported our youth, the hospital, library, museum, chamber, schools and many others aspects of the area. Williamsburg County appreciated Firestone and everyone was proud to have the Firestone Building Products Facility in our county. Not only did we value our relationship, but we believed them when they said they would never close the Kingstree Plant. Of course you know the rest of the story that Firestone indeed closed our local industrial unit and sent our jobs and equipment to Arkansas. I understand that Firestone had the right to make this decision, but it does not make it any easier to accept.
Trust is a critical factor in any type of achievement, especially in light of economic issues Americans have faced in the past few years. For what it’s worth, I read a report that discussed the trust connection between employers and employees. The report stated: 25% of employees have less trust in management than they did last year; 10% trust management to make the right decision in time of uncertainty; 14 % believe company leaders are ethical and honest; 12% believes the employer cares about the employee, and only 7% believe senior management actions are consistent with their words. Trust is indeed a gift and we all suffer when it’s missing. I loved the following quote by Johnny Depp, the actor from Pirates of the Caribbean, who perhaps said it best. “Me, I’m a dishonest man and you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest. Honestly it’s the honest ones you have to watch out for.”