New Beginning for Imperial Sugar Employees - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New Beginning for Imperial Sugar Employees

Imperial Sugar held a picnic in remembrance of the victims of the explosion. Imperial Sugar held a picnic in remembrance of the victims of the explosion.

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - Today was a day of new beginnings for Imperial Sugar employees. While many reminisced and took pictures for future memories, it was a family reunion for others like Walter Maxwell who was burned in the factory explosion. For many Saturday was a day to move past that dark day which happened over two months ago, and focus on a brighter future.

"It really is just a touching moment for everybody. I feel it," said Sheptor. "For me, I feel like I came home."

On Friday, Imperial Sugar CEO, John Sheptor announced they'll rebuild the factory, including a new, modern packaging facility. That was the news employees wanted to hear.

Honey Hall's family lived on the Imperial Sugar site for decades. Generations of his family have worked at this plant. They couldn't imagine not having the factory in Port Wentworth.

"I've been out here 25 years. I don't want this place to go nowhere," said Tommy Hall, Imperial Sugar employee. "I want it to stay here 50, 60 more years."

"There's a lot of history out here. And it means a lot to a lot of people, including us," said Barbara Hall, former employee of Imperial Sugar.

Karen Seckinger's family has a strong history at Imperial Sugar also.

"My dad retired from here after working 35 years. My husband works here. He worked 34 years. My son Paul worked here too," said Karen Seckinger.

Her son Paul remains at the Augusta Burn Center recovering from his injuries. While she isn't sure if Paul will go back to work at the plant, she is excited to know the plant will be rebuilt.

"I'm glad they're going to rebuild. I think it will be good for everybody," said Seckinger.

"We have some of the greatest people in the world that work here," said Sheptor.

Sheptor said he believes rebuilding the plant shows that life will go on for Imperial Sugar employees. And by the looks of things, employees agree. They have a close bond, no tragedy could ever break.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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