I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of days scrolling through Facebook, looking at photo after photo taken by and shared with the various employees of Verso's Luke Mill.

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
“There are no words.”
I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of days scrolling through Facebook, looking at photo after photo taken by and shared with the various employees of Verso’s Luke Mill.
Many of them worked their last day at the mill on Friday, and marked the sad occasion by sharing photos of themselves and their co-workers - often referred to as “work family” - and many of them marking the occasion with a photo of the last rolls of paper to come off the machines or the last truck to unload at the plant.
In the comment section under many of the photos was this one simple phrase:
“There are no words.”
I myself have never had any close relatives who worked at Luke Mill. I married into a family that had several Luke employees, however, and have many, many people whom I call my friend who work there.
These are people who have worked there for 30+ years right on down to a few who were hired just days before the closure announcement was made.
All of them, no doubt, were either planning to work there until they retired or to at least be there awhile until they desired a career change.
Now they find themselves, as one friend said, unemployed for the first time in 30 years.
I’ve lost one job in my life and I can tell you it is an indescribable feeling of emptiness and uncertainty when you realize the place you’ve been going to every morning is not there for you any more.
And so as I scroll through these photos on Facebook, or run into some of my friends whom I know work there, I struggle to find the right thing to say to let them know they are in my heart and in my prayers.
But …
“There are no words.”
I would encourage everyone, however, to reach out to these folks, whether you can find the right words or not.
These folks who are facing an uncertain future - something they may have never experienced before - are going to need to know that they are not alone. This area is, indeed, Luke Mill Strong, and we all must rely upon that strength to pull together and be there for one another.
That encouragement can come sometimes just in a smile, a wave, a hand shake, or a nod of the head.
There are no words … but sometimes there doesn’t have to be.
Sometimes we just need to rely on our faith, and each other, and face the future together.