EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Challenge can bring out the best in individuals and challenge can bring out the worst in communities.
The third largest city in east Texas, Lufkin, is faced with a huge challenge in that the foundry owned by GE Oil and Gas will be closing in a month. The move directly affects more than 170 jobs at the plant and another 90 jobs at another location in Angelina County.
The Foundry, as it is known, has been a huge player in the history of Lufkin and the loss of jobs will affect the community economically and, just as importantly, psychologically. Other cities in east Texas have experienced similar setbacks including the Curtis Mathes TV factory in Athens, Stroh's Brewery in Longview, Kelly Springfield tires in Tyler and many others.
The locations of the former big employers become open sores on the community. But in each of those examples I just listed, the cities rallied, recovered and have thrived by overcoming the emotional impact first and then setting the table for growth into the future. It may be a long road but in each case, growth and prosperity have resulted.
So the challenge is for anyone, any business that has a stake in Angelina County, and that is really all of east Texas to stand up, brush off the dirt and bitterness and commit to using smart tactics to attract new business and business growth to the area.
It will be easy to wallow in self-pity, but that is a deadly move. Helping our neighbors through tough times is what makes for a Better East Texas.