Friday, August 2, 2013

Art Spranger shares his long history with Wightman Lumber....

Sixty-one years ago Art Spranger came to Crumhorn Mountain for a two week vacation, met up with Charlie and Cy Wightman, and never went back to New Jersey.

Art started working with the 1st generation Wightman brothers in 1952. He worked in the woods, the sawmill and on the farm doing whatever needed to be done. Art recalled that in the early years he helped out when the mill ran with only 2 men. He was cutting slabs off logs and turning them into firewood for sale.  From time to time he even assumed the role of babysitter for the young Dan and Dave Wightman.

Art left the mill in 1955 to serve our country with the US Air Force. In 1977 he returned to Wightman Lumber looking for work and was hired as a delivery person for 75 cents an hour. He tells me he has done just about everything you can imagine around the plant over the years. He takes pride in having maintained the dry kilns and never having a load returned for not being dry.

Art shared that his favorite memory over the years involved a horse named Mike. A local man owed the Wightmans some money so they loaned Mike, a draft horse, to the man to pull out logs to satisfy his debt. Art went to check on the logs and found Mike not being well cared for. He slid a rope around the horse’s neck and walked him home. After about 4 miles they stopped to rest at the mill, located on route 28 at that time, before making the additional 3 mile trek up Crumhorn Mountain.  Art said the break was necessary because the horse was tired, not the handler. Today it would be challenging to find an employee willing to walk 7 miles to bring your horse home.

Although Art retired in 2001 you can still find him around helping out. He titles himself “Fleet Superintendent”.  Twelve years after retiring he is still helping to make things happen by taking care of the vehicle registrations and using his vast knowledge of the business to help source challenging parts.  

Adding 39 more years to the tally brings us up to 255 years of experience. The longevity of the employees at Wightman Lumber is impressive. Art has been around to witness the changes and growth of the business for well over half a century. 

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