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Former DuraFiber employees continue holiday tradition

By Spencer Dixon

news@salisburypost.com

fSALISBURY — Despite the DuraFiber plant’s closing, former employees continued a holiday tradition Tuesday.

Employees from across the plant’s tenure, from the 1960s Fiber Industries Inc. to the recently closed DuraFiber Technologies, meet on the first Tuesday of December every year to reconnect and celebrate the holidays.

Durafiber Technologies closed after 50 years of operations in Salisbury before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in October.

“We always thought it to be the livelihood of generations to come,” said Sandi Lauzon. “It’s a sad thing.”

With the recent closing still having an effect, guests said it was a crucial time to enjoy the fellowship of former co-workers.

“Everyone is thankful for the opportunity to just see people they know and talk,” said organizer Sandi Lauzon.  “It’s kind of a family reunion.”

Many of the approximately 425 in attendance Tuesday agreed that their former co-workers are like family.

“We would see these people more than our actual family,” said Sherry Lambert, who spent 38 years at the plant.

Employees like Dot Smith look forward to seeing specific co-workers because “you miss them so much after working close together.”

She has never missed the holiday get-together to ensure she is able to see the friends she made during her time at the plant.

Even if people didn’t work closely, everyone recognizes one another and shares the warm holiday spirit.

“I enjoy it because I see old friends, but I worked there almost 36 years, so I know quite a few people here,” said Ernest Hargrave, an employee at the plant from 1967 to 2003.

When asked if the holiday gathering will continue down the road, Ron Beard said, “As long as people want to do it, we are going to do this.”

This year’s event was held at Blue Bay restaurant on Statesville Boulevard.

Any former employee of the plant who wishes to connect with former co-workers can join the FIIbuddies Facebook page.

In addition to the holiday get-together, former employees meet at Sloan Park in the summer for another opportunity for fun and fellowship.

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