September 4, 2006
Labor Day. It's a national holiday to celebrate workers across America.
One local family tells News 12 they are celebrating they have a job at all.
Lynnsey Gardner met up with the Newman family tonight at the North Augusta Rest Fest.
In 2004 Diane and Donald Newman were in a crisis. Both were laid off within three days of each other when the plant they worked at closed down.
Today, Donald has found work, and he and his wife and their two young children say their struggle has given the holiday a whole new meaning.
Diane and Donald remember October 2004 all too vividly.
"We were left with no job and a family to support," Diane recalls. "We went looking for a job every day. It was like, get the kids on the school bus and then leave to go look together."
"We just barely squeezed by," Donald says.
Two years later, the Newmans are out celebrating Labor Day with their two young children.
"It's fun to have my dad out here for Labor Day," says son Patrick.
"We got to run through the water," daughter Lizzie says.
Lizzie and Patrick enjoy what they can for free, and admire from afar what they cannot afford.
For Lizzie, it's a new purse; for Patrick, it's climbing the rock wall.
"I've always wanted to do it, but it costs money," Patrick says. "But then we went over by the water and had a great time and I forgot all about it."
"They pouted a little bit like all kids would, but they understood," Diane says.
The Newmans have had to make adjustments. Diane now stays at home, and they live on one paycheck.
"He is making not that much money, but 9 dollars is enough," Lizzie says. "I have to keep saving, and the birthdays are short...no big cakes or big balloons and just one little present."
"He tries to buy me everything I want but if he doesn't I don't care," Patrick says.
The nine-year-old and 11-year-old have already learned powerful life lessons from watching their parents.
"I'm very proud of my family. We're just enjoying it...having a day off and getting paid for it. Yes! Getting paid for it," Donald says.
"It's just a blessing he was able to find a job and to support the family and be blessed with holidays and happiness again," says Diane.
When I left them, Lizzie and Patrick were looking forward to the fireworks and walking by the river at the park.
And Patrick did get to climb that rock wall after all.