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The label that I like … and live by

Blue collar.

That’s the label I like.

That’s the label I try to live by.

The meaning of that label is what I tried to teach my kid.

Yes, that’s the label I prefer in an America gone crazy with labels, with choosing sides and picking fights if a person’s beliefs don’t meet expectations.

OK, enough of politics.

My father was blue collar. So were his parents. My sweetheart of a grandmother and her family were, too.

So were many of my neighbors.

They worked … really hard.

They grew up and lived in this blue-collar region here in beautiful Northcentral Pennsylvania.

Where the manufacturing of steel cable, high pressure valves, boilers, piston aircraft engines, furniture, food, fasteners, plastic, chemicals, vaccums, lumber and veneeer, cardboard, garage doors … the list goes on and on … have laid the foundation for building families, home ownership and a great quality of life.

We’re all now in a God-awful pandemic, with too many people out of work.

Yet, it’s work — making things we need to be safe and self-sufficient — for which we must take individual and collective responsibility.

We need to make — to manufacture — the things and stuff we need and want to take care of ourselves.

We need the “working class” — the best class out there — to step up for our great community, state and nation.

Are we learning that lesson?

The jury is out.

Frankly, I’m tired of buying something I need only to find it was made in Asia, South America or elsewhere offshore.

We can make the things we need and want here.

We must.

Otherwise we will have learned nothing from this virus.

We’re still making steel cable, steel trusses, apparel, machines to manufacture equipment, vacuums, medical devices (Yea!) — even hot tubs and more.

Over the years industries and businesses in our region have expanded to make computer chips, paper towel and tissue and so much more. And there certainly are specialty products out there I’m missing.

So look at the chart above this piece. Look at how unemployment claims — because of COVID-19 — have risen over the past year in our area.

December was a cluster, pretty much across the board.

Sure, a larger than normal number of people need “stimulus” … you get no argument on that from me.

They need money to get by until businesses reopen and they get their jobs back.

Food, rent, mortgage, utilities, gasoline, etc., etc.

But there needs to be an end in sight to this “extra benefit” money so people are incentivized to get back to work.

Indeed, we all have our “work” cut out for us, blue collar and white collar.

So let’s get through this and roll up our sleeves.

There are jobs out there.

We know.

We have the largest list of opportunities in print and online at jobs.sungazette.com and jobs.lockhaven.com.

We need people to fill the jobs so we may not only become more self-reliant, but also prevent scams and the distribution of fake products. (Just look at the millions of fake N95 masks flooding our country.)

Let’s try to put aside our differences and agree that the greater good is what’s most important. We cannot lose sight of our mutual blue-collar values. My end game here is to try to rally our mutual forces against this pandemic.

I hope like me, you are proud of this area — our home!

There are so many dedicated people here who work to promote our region culturally, civically and economically by creating opportunity.

I say live by this: When stress builds, stop doubting yourself and get to work.

Rolley is publisher of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and The Express community newspapers.

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