SOUTH OTSELIC – Gladding Braided Products employees embodied the true meaning of Christmas by giving up their holiday party – and more – to support the displaced Cox Block fire victims.
A beloved historic building in South Otselic, the Cox Block, was destroyed by a raging fire on Dec. 14 this year. The building housed 10 apartments of which five were rented. The individuals and families renting those apartments lost their homes to the flames.
“Most of the people just got out with the clothes on their backs. As far as we know, the people who lived there lost everything. There wasn't enough time to get anything substantial,” said Gladding Braided Products Vice President, Mike Radziwon.
The 198-year-old rope manufacturing business in South Otselic, Gladding Braided Products, employs four people who lived in the Cox Block apartments and were displaced by the fire. The company is a significant employer for the small town with more than 60 employees.
According to Radziwon, the company helped three of the displaced employees find permanent housing. The fourth displaced employee found permanent housing outside the company.
As a previous Town of Otselic board member and involved community leader, Manufacturing Manager Charles “BJ” Bishop was concerned for those displaced by the fire. He told Radziwon about the idea to donate the company's Christmas party money to the displaced fire victims.