We owe a debt to the “fantastic seven”

Congratulations to Harbor Paper and the startup of the mill. John Begley never quit working to find a positive solution to get the mill up and running again. It was truly a fortuitous set of circumstances that led to the meeting with Cesar Scolari and the ultimate purchase of the mill. Many unnamed people helped to put the deal together and to that we as a community are thankful.

When the mill was shuttered some 15 months ago there was a small crew of seven who remained on site to maintain the mill for what was hoped to be a restart rather than a piecemeal dismantling and sell-off of assets.These fantastic seven committed themselves to maintaining the mill, power house, water treatment facility and physical plant for that hoped-for restart.

The very idea that the plant could and would be maintained by only seven men is mind boggling. It truly shows the professionalism and dedication that these men had as their task in the start-up of the mill. The start-up went off with very little trouble and they are now making paper. Try to imagine all of the pumps, pipes, electrical connections, paper rolls and presses, state of the art converting machines and other equipment that had to be maintained on a constant basis. Yet this herculean task was accomplished in the highest degree.

They started to try and make paper early in the morning. By 11 a.m. they had a sheet through the machine and by 5 p.m. they were making a saleable product. This success is unheard of in the industry.

Give credit where credit is due. To the fantastic seven I say thank you and God bless you from my family and from our community.

These men are just everyday folk, just like you, who committed themselves to maintaining a dream of restarting the mill and they followed through with it. They are the story of a resilient Harborite who just keeps on doing what we do best.

Thank you Steve Beck, Bill Swantek, Bill McClelland, and Tom Bodwell in the mill proper, John Pelligreni in the power house, Mike Welliver in the water treatment plant, and Brad Bonell in the physical plant. You gentlemen are sensational.

Mike Barkstrom