Last Saturday, the Mahoning Valley Fire Company dedicated a 2013 pumper it purchased from the KME Corporation in Nesquehoning at a cost of $467,217.

During the program, the firefighters thanked the local community for its continued support. It also heaped praise of KME for being a local production facility; one which had personnel who did so much to assist in producing not only a quality piece of apparatus but building a truck which meets the needs of the rural fire department.

There were several positive things pointed out about having the truck manufactured at KME:

Ÿ The firm employs 46 residents of the township. This means that local citizens helped make the truck which will be utilized in their own protection.

Ÿ Throughout the building of the truck, members of Mahoning Valley Fire Company could observe the process. They witnessed everything from the installation of the engine to the installing of the rivets to the inner workings of the foam and pump mechanisms. This would not have been possibly had the truck been bought from a company outside the area.

Ÿ KME officials were constantly available to answer questions, provide advice, and review concerns with Mahoning officials, not via telephone or letter but in person.

This isn't something KME does only with the Mahoning Valley Fire Company. It provides such openness to any firm which purchases fire apparatus. It welcomes members of fire departments to come and witness the first hand the quality of the local workmanship.

While 46 of KME's workers are from Mahoning Township, it has hundreds of employees. They live in Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, Nesquehoning, Lansford, Coaldale, Franklin Township, Tamaqua, Palmerton, and every other local community.

We too often take for granted the value of local manufacturers. The Mahoning Valley Fire Company made sure to give praise to KME and with good reason. It's a valuable asset not only to that fire company, but to the region as a whole.

At one time the Kovatch firm was one of the leading suppliers of military tank trucks. Politics gave such leeway to other companies, even though it was the ingenuity of the Kovatch firm which created those trucks.

Still, the Kovatch firm has persevered and remains in business. Even losing major government contracts, the firm remains steady in employment and hasn't left the area like Mack and so many other companies tried to do.

It's fortunate manufacturing facilities like Kovatch keep their faith in the local area.

And it's great to see local entities like Mahoning Valley Fire Company patronize them.

If only our political leaders could again be influenced to utilize the local company where quality has always been a priority. While the area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, one would think political leaders would capitalize on a great asset that exists here.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com