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Lordstown residents devastated after GM decides to close plant

Posted at 4:01 PM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 18:07:14-05

Lordstown will never be the same.

Those are the words community members shared with News 5 Tuesday, as the fallout over General Motors decision to stop operations at the plant with a 52-year history continues. 

RELATED: Community devastated after announcement that General Motors Lordstown plant to stop production

There isn't a neighborhood, church, school or local business that wasn't touched by the news. 

The faces behind the headlines are the 1,500 workers whose jobs will be cut. The thousands of already laid-off workers who hoped to get called back. The 5,000 workers impacted statewide. 

Tommy Wolikow, a second generation GM Lordstown auto worker: "I remember the day I signed my permanent papers, it was one of the best days of my life."

Scott Chittock, a Lordstown native brought up in a steel and auto town that was booming; "You don't ask for anything. You just roll up your sleeves and get dirty and work. That's all we ever wanted to do."

Rochelle Carlisle, a local who changed careers, from pharmaceuticals, working towards a better life: "Taking a pay raise was a better decision to make at the time."

Their lives were transformed by the plant and impacted whether it stays or goes. 

"Everybody works at GM! Without that? It's gonna be really tough," Chittock said.

"The core of this community is General Motors. We live here. Our house value is going to plummet. My daughter goes to school here in the community," Carlisle said. 

General Motors announcement, to stop production of the Chevy Cruze, came as a small surprise they say. 

"General Motors is making more profit than they ever have in their history of being a company. And they can't say they're doing this to save money or make cutbacks. You're doing this to make more money," Wolikow told News 5.

But with homes, families, and lives in the Lordstown-area, the folks we talked to aren't quick to cut and run.

Maintaining hope that the plant that brought and kept them here, all these years, will see a day after March 1.

"I don't know that this community can bounce back from losing General Motors," Wolikow said. 

"I wish GM would figure out what they're doing. Without them? We are devastated," Chittock said.