GLTPA's Director's Notes



We will start this month with a story which was shared several articles ago and it applies to the current situation and challenges being faced in today’s reality.

The story is called “The Difference Between Rich and Poor People.”

One day the father of a very wealthy family took his son to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great Dad.”  “Did you see how poor people live?” asked the father. “Oh yeah,” the son said. “So tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog, they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, they have creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars all night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are.”

From this boy’s perspective would you agree loggers and folks living and working in rural communities are not poor? At least not from a natural resource and freedoms standpoint. As the Hank Williams Jr. song states, “A country boy can survive” even in times like the present.  

Given the challenges people around the world are currently facing, it should highlight how important loggers and the forest industry are to society. The production of raw fiber to supply mills which manufacture products including tissue, face masks, throw away paper gowns and shoe covers, all sorts of food products and clothing is essential for everyday life both pre- and post-pandemic. Even the swabs used for COVID testing are mounted on paper or wood sticks.  In addition, the mailbox contains daily messages printed on paper with instructions on how to deal with this virus. No matter the situation trees and loggers who harvest them play a continuous role in sustaining life.

Why then, is it such a chore for the American public and people throughout the world to acknowledge the truth regarding benefits of sustainable forest management and the fact forests are a renewable resource? Why is it citizens place such little value on the work of loggers and companies providing them with sustainable products, clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation. The first answer which comes to mind is perhaps loggers and the forest industry do not place enough value on themselves. Have you heard any shouting from the mountain tops promoting the “Wood is Good” or “Paper is Positive” for the environment messages on behalf of the timber industry?

To a small degree GLTPA and FISTA’s St. John Education Fund are hoping to change this. In partnership with Discover Media Works commercials began airing April 18th which are promoting sustainable forestry and their connection to everyday life. The next step will be promotion of loggers and industry by reminding viewers products in short supply such as toilet paper and personal care products are the result of sustainable forest management. While everyone is under stay at home orders timing is perfect with audiences being captive. Given the uncertainty of what the future holds in store, financing such a project may be a challenge but where there is a will there is a way.

It is also worth noting a group called “The Real American Hardwood Coalition” is doing a great deal of marketing research and will be doing a marketing campaign promoting the use of real wood for building homes and business structures. There is another group called the “Wood Collaborative” which will be doing some 90 second commercial spots promoting the forest industry however, COVID-19 has placed filming of these spots on hold until future conditions warrant freedom of movement.

Even though these are seemingly uncertain times there is opportunity and there are also reminders that should not be forgotten such as those in the following history Lesson.

During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a “National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.”  The following version came from “American Minute” written by Bill Federer April 1, 2019 and states: 

“Whereas, the Senate of the United States devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God in all affairs of men and of nations, has, by resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation; and

Whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is Lord:

And insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has even grown, but we have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and   forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th Day of April, 1863, as a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several laces of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to the solemn occasion.

All this is being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”

Lincoln’s proclamation is included in this article for a couple of reasons. First there are some obvious similarities between the war then and the war taking place today against COVID-19. Back then the issue was slavery and today it is the virus, stay at home orders, devastation of the economy, and the division amongst people as to how all these issues are being handled by government.  Although no guns are involved, this silent enemy has managed to infiltrate our health, homes, businesses, people’s minds, and our way of life.

What’s troubling are the little messages being broadcast by the media and some governors that life will not return to the way it was. I for one cannot imagine any good reason why it should not. We have learned to live with other illnesses such as the common flu for which there is a vaccination.  According to the “Center for Disease Control” statistics, 34,200 people in the US died from the flu during the 2018-2019 season and yet there is no cure. The American Cancer Society estimates that 606,800 US citizens died from cancer in 2019.  Although the death rate has dropped slightly there is still no cure for cancer, and we have learned to live with the impacts of this disease. So, what makes COVID 19 any different?

America was built on the foundation of the “Declaration of Independence” and the “Constitution of the United States of America.”  History reveals that those documents were built on the Bible which is very evident in Lincoln’s proclamation.  These very principles are what has guided America to be the greatest country in the world.  Why would anyone not want to return to peace, happiness, and freedom?  From this writer’s perspective, these principles are once again being put to the test and if we as Americans let them be changed or fall by the wayside without speaking up, shame on us.  Perhaps the best thing for America right now is to take Lincoln’s advice and proclaim a day in May for Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer. Interestingly enough, two days after Lincoln’s proclamation was observed an accident occurred which many historians believe to have altered the course of the war and history.

Celebration of Mother’s Day dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cyblel.  For the USA, the official Mother’s Day holiday came to be in the 1900’s because of the efforts of Anna Jarvis who was the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis.  After her mother’s death Anna Jarvis who would remain unmarried and childless, believed Mother’s Day was a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.  After gaining financial support from John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia department store owner, Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in May of 1908.  After much work and perseverance Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

In the beginning Miss Jarvis viewed Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families.  Her version included wearing a White Carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother. As history states, Miss Jarvis had originally worked with the flower industry to elevate the profile of Mother’s Day. By the 1920’s she became so disgusted with how the holiday had become commercialized, she denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candy. Obviously, many of us have never read this before!   

Despite Miss Jarvis’s dissatisfaction with commercialization, I for one will continue to honor my mother in thought and my wife as the mother of our 3 wonderful children.  As of this writing it is very apparent Mother’s Day for some will be celebrated differently this year.  There will be no hugs or kisses, however, that does not mean flowers, cards, candy and whatever gifts you desire cannot still be given.  Direct shipped online orders and deliveries by mail are all viable ways to get the job done and for those mothers still with us she is only a phone call away.  This is your May mission gentlemen.  Failure is not an option!! ?? 

Memorial Day is another May celebration and a remembrance of all those who have gone before us.  It is also a day when we honor those who gave so much for this “One Country under God with Liberty and Justice for All.”  At this moment America is at war with a silent enemy. Even though there may be no celebrating Memorial Day this year like in years past, there are many ways to remember our loved ones.  Be safe and stay healthy.    

Until next month,






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The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTPA)

Provides proven leadership in the Lake States Forest products industry for over 70 years. GLTPA is a non-profit organization proud to represent members in Michigan and Wisconsin and is committed to leading Forest Products Industry in sustainable forest management.

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