We must restore Franklin’s confidence to bring change

Published 8:53 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

By Jake Pittman

Editor’s Note: Jake Pittman wrote the following essay as part of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual scholarship competition. Because of incorrect information provided to the newspaper, the essay was attributed to the wrong author when published on this page recently. The column is reprinted in its entirety.

Our community was severely affected by the closing of International Paper.

I, like many others, had a family member — my mother — who lost her job as an employee of IP. This has not only left our community in financial troubles, but it also has hurt the spirit of our city.

It is quite obvious that we have to find ways to support our community financially, but before we can do that we must recharge our spirit.

Before the closing of IP, Franklin was doing very well. Everyone in the area was relatively happy, doing well financially. There were few problems, and everything seemed great.

After the dark day, the atmosphere of success took a 180-degree turn for the worse and rightfully so. Even if someone did not work at the mill, their family was going to be affected by the closing in some way, shape or form.

With this massive devastation experienced by all, the main goal of our community’s leaders should be to revive the vivacious aura our town once possessed.

When we revive the city’s morale, then the jobs and the financial troubles will be answered because the citizens within our area will have the courage and confidence to undertake the challenges we all face.

A way we can revitalize our community’s spirit is by having a local field/work day. The location of this event can be near Barrett’s Landing, and it can have the feeling as a fun day for family and friends, but along the sides of the roads or in some buildings, companies who are looking for employees can be available to hand out information to people who are searching for work.

Also there could be consultants for unemployed members of our community to give them advice about how to make themselves more hirable. With a fun family feel to the day and the availability to find information for employment, this event will be the perfect activity to renew our town’s spirit.

In the history of the United States, there is a constant wave of good and bad times, but during the low times in our nation’s history, we have always managed to restore hope and stability.

The current predicament that the City of Franklin is experiencing is no different, and we will be able to recover from this recent catastrophe.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” and this correlates with Franklin’s state of mind right now: Change will come, but we must restore the town’s confidence and then everything else will fall into place.

JAKE PITTMAN is one of two recipients of this year’s Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce scholarships. He wrote this column as part of the requirements to apply for a scholarship given in honor of Donna C. McCullough, who served the Chamber as executive director from 1976–2004. Recipients must have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, be involved with community service and leadership activities, and display academic achievement. The chamber can be reached at join@fsachamber.com.