Page 21 - Discover Magazine 2019
P. 21

   Grain mill in Port Jefferson Ohio.
as it had from the beginning. Over time, national media took notice. The Great Depression devastated almost every American town. Unemployment rates of 30% or more were common. Not so in our community. Writers from Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Readers’ Digest arrived here to find out why the unemployment rate was in the single digits. They discovered it was all about leadership. Wendell Whipp, president of Monarch Machine Tool Company voluntarily took a 33% pay cut. He encouraged the rest of management to do the same. In the end, all the employees agreed to take less pay so fewer recently hired employees would be laid off.
The story was the same during World War II. Editors of the Saturday Evening Post heard something special was
Train Station in Botkins. This station was on the south side of West State Street (formerly Railroad Street)
on the east side of the tracks.
happening in Shelby County. Our community still had a low unemployment rate when the war began. Then, over 1,500 men left their jobs to fight. Monarch alone hired 1,500 additional workers. The math did not add up.
The writer from the Post journeyed here to investigate. What he discovered was what had made our county great- innovative leadership.
Mayor and local baker John Sexauer had an idea.
He took a job with Monarch- working 8 hours a day, seven days a week, AFTER he was finished at his bakery. The idea caught on. Hundreds of house wives took jobs at Monarch and Copeland in an era when few women worked outside the home. Even Probate Judge Robert A. Eshman chose to work on a lathe at Monarch, seven days a week after closing his court each day.
The point was illustrated again in 1959. Community leaders applied for the coveted “All-American City award given out each year across America. Sidney received an honorable mention citation. It was a notable achievement. However, Dr. Clayton Kiracofe, the champion of the effort, and other local leaders was not happy. Using a phrase now in common parlance, they “doubled down” and worked harder than ever on the next application. It paid off. Sidney was given an All-American City award in 1964.
Let the Bicentennial celebrations begin. However, let us never forget the reasons for our success and out continuing obligation to make our community a better place than we found it.
Article submitted by: Rich Wallace 19

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