It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year now since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Connecticut. Shortly after that scary revelation, the first COVID-19-related death In Connecticut occurred on March 17, 2020. One year into the pandemic, the death toll from COVID-19 has reached 7,752 in Connecticut. Many state residents have lost loved ones and many are still grieving their losses of friends, relatives and in some cases, co-workers.
Likewise, on the national and international front, it certainly has been a difficult twelve months. The pain, both emotional and economic, continues for many across the globe. This last twelve months has also been a sad time for so many who have endured economic hardships due to job losses, business and school closures and so on. In America alone, we have lost 525,000 loved ones to COVID-19. Ten million Americans remain unemployed and in an increasing number of cases, renters are unable to pay rent owed to landlords. Other Americans struggle to provide for their families. These hardships are likely to continue for a while but it is our hope that the combination of vaccine distribution and the recently passed $1.9 billion stimulus will contribute positively towards better days for many Americans and a return to some sense of normalcy in the not so distant future.
To my way of thinking, the pandemic has clearly brought out the best that America has to offer. Healthcare workers and first responders have stepped up unbelievably and have done so much to help those suffering and in need of love and care in communities across the nation. They are selfless, true heroes and their dedication and commitment to humanity is so appreciated. As mentioned above, the U.S. Government has stepped up with COVID-19 aid packages and relief to states and agencies. And, as a result of Operation Warp Speed, we are starting to see amped up levels of vaccine distribution. As Americans, I believe we have a lot to be grateful for.
On the one-year anniversary of the onset of COVID-19, it is a good time to reflect on the multitude of blessings the Ulbrich Community has received during this very challenging pandemic. First, we are blessed because we have not lost any employees or family members due to COVID – for this we are truly grateful. The Ulbrich Community has fared well during this pandemic. Business has been solid, and our employees around the world have stepped up to keep our customers supplied with the materials and product they require. As an essential manufacturer, I would like to especially recognize our employees who continued to safely work in one of our facilities throughout the pandemic. I am very proud of their dedication and commitment. It has not been easy for many of our employees working remotely either; they have also risen to the occasion. Remote workers had to adapt to a new way of life and they too, have stepped up very nicely. All told, I am eternally grateful for all of our employee efforts aimed at keeping our business going and satisfying our customer needs during unprecedented challenging times. It is clear to me that many heroes are among our ranks here at Ulbrich.
Over the last twelve months, we all lived through tough times. In America, we had bad storms, incredibly difficult social and divisive political environments, and challenging COVID-19 restrictions that kept us from moving about and getting out of our homes – but we endured it all and we are ready to move forward as a nation once again. At Ulbrich, we retained 99.5% of our employees during the pandemic. We spent $8 million on capital improvement projects, and we continued to provide our customers with the material they need for projects and initiatives related to providing, among many other applications, cleaner air and water, and safer automobiles all over the world. While times have been tough, through the diligent work of our employees, we continue to provide materials that make our planet a better place to live.
In closing, we have a lot to be grateful for and much to be proud of. We are all so ready for a return to normal times. The number of COVID-19 cases is gradually declining. People are being immunized, and the labor market is strengthening. We are all looking forward to travelling and vacationing again, taking our children to school, participating in sports, visiting gyms and restaurants and going to weddings. We are all hopeful for a return to normalcy. In the meantime, I just wanted to let our employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders know that I am very grateful for everything everyone has done to get Ulbrich through this crazy pandemic!
Godspeed and think stainless,
Chairman/CEO Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc.
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