Domtar employees drive away for the final time - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Domtar employees drive away for the final time

by Colby Robertson

PORT EDWARDS (WAOW) -- After 150 years, Domtar's Port Edwards paper mill is closing it's doors for good. Patrick Oday drove out of the mill for the last time after working here for 38 years.

"Just numb. It's hard to say. It's too early to know what's going to happen and what our future's going to be. Just take it one day at a time," says Oday.   

That uncertainty is what made this drive out of Domtar so difficult for many of these workers.

"Going to take a couple months off. Get some things together. Spend some time with my family. look into schooling, see what's going on," says Richard Kohl, a Domtar employee for 14 years.

But for some, the hardest part is seeing a building with this much history go to waste.

"This mill has been operating in one capacity or another since before the civil war. It's just sad to see this mill go," says Kerry Miltimore, who's worked at the mill for 16 years.

Others say it's their co-workers and friends they'll miss the most.

"I've worked here 35 years. I was in operating in that big silver building with the red and white stack and the two people I worked with there, I worked with for 27 years. We knew each others kids, their grand kids, and you still have the friendships, but you don't have the same interactions you have when you're with them everyday. 8 hours a day 39 weeks out of the year, so it's a big loss," says Ed Saylor, a 35 year employee and the Village President.   

But no matter what each worker will miss, one things is certain, it's an end of an era for Domtar, these workers and the Port Edwards Community.

Three o'clock was the end of the last production shift, but they're taking some time to safely shut the plant down.

There will be people going in and out through next week to tie up those loose ends.

Online Reporter: Colby Robertson

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