Final salute to Marine
Joseph Giesel lived to be 94 years old and witnessed a lot of changes, including a huge one firsthand.
The Dorena man was a Marine in the segregated military. He was a white officer training the Marine Corps’ first African-American recruits at Montford Point in North Carolina during World War II.
At the time, race relations had been frozen for decades in America. Blacks were barred from participating in many of our most cherished institutions, including the Marine Corps.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime executive order to prohibit discrimination in defense jobs was a significant development in the long road to integration. “The democratic way of life within the nation can be defended successfully only with the help and support of all groups,” Roosevelt said.
Roosevelt’s order led to other presidential executive orders over the next two decades to erase segregation.
The Marines have not forgotten their history.
Giesel died June 20 and was buried Monday at the Roseburg National Cemetery. An honor guard of active-duty Marines participated, recognizing Giesel’s part in history.
Swanson Group CEO and President Steve Swanson really didn’t need another headache.
The Glendale-based timber company owner has been pushing for years to get more access to federal timber on the lands surrounding his mill — lands that, by law, are dedicated to sustainable timber harvests.
Being able to purchase that timber is key to keeping people employed at Swanson and maintaining manufacturing jobs in Douglas County.
But on July 17, he was dealt another blow. His company’s plywood and veneer plant in Springfield went up in flames and burned to nothing, displacing 250 workers.
Fortunately, none of the 100 workers on the job at the time was injured. Nor were any firefighters hurt.
Yet unemployment suddenly loomed for 250 people, and Swanson faces a difficult decision: If his insurance covers the loss, does he rebuild? Will he have a reliable timber supply if he does?
Swanson and his staff are scrambling to find positions at other Swanson mills for the idled workers, but the jobs could come with commutes of more than 100 miles one way.
Some of his lumber industry colleagues are coming forward as well; a shortage of skilled workers means they’ve got open jobs the Swanson workers can fill.
Some workers may be OK, but many others may have entered a period of chaos in their lives.
Teaching by example
We’ve all been part of gatherings where people enjoy food, music, good company — and then mysteriously disappear when it’s time to clean up the mess.
But what about those people who show up, tools in hand, to do the dirty work, in places they may never have yet visited?
On Saturday, dozens of people are deploying to do just that, in cemeteries, a park and a community orchard sprinkled across Douglas County. Others pitched in last Saturday at a South County elementary school. All are connected with a series of summer projects shouldered by congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Collectively called the Day of Service, the projects are chosen partly as a means of teaching children the value of doing for others. Toiling together, adults and children donate time for chores that may not otherwise get done. They may never meet those who will benefit most from their labors, whether it’s sprucing up headstones, yanking weeds or applying long-needed coats of paint.
It’s not unusual for churches to provide community service. But it should never be taken for granted. Thanks to church members and other volunteers who do more than preach about the right thing to do. They do it.