WARREN, Ohio — The National Packard Museum in Warren is just minutes from the General Motors plant in Lordstown. Relics of a simpler time sit inside the museum. Some of the museum’s volunteers retired from Packard. They also saw friends and loved ones get laid off from Packard.
“We felt that we had a job for life, and now today people don’t feel that way their jobs can be gone in an instant,” said Judy Watson. “We went from 15,000 people to possibly 500.”
Watson worked at Packard for 32 years before retiring.
“Everyone wanted to work at Packard,” said Watson. “They would stand in line for hours. I stood for hours in a line like that. We’ve seen a lot of loss in this community: first with the steel mills, then with Packard, and now Lordstown.”
Watson uses experience to comfort people who are now jobless because of the GM plant's closure.
“You have to give them hope,” said Watson. “A good friend of mine’s son works there. I’m not sure what he’s going to do. he has small children. You give them a hug and tell them you’re sorry. Horrible, horrible. job loss is terrible on a family.”
Now, many don’t know what employment changes will mean for the economy across the area.
“When people lose their jobs out there, a lot of other people are going to lose their jobs: restaurants and retail,” said Watson.