Sweet home Indiana.
It’s Day 7 on the tour, and we are currently in Indianapolis, IN. The DML team today interviewed a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, Ruth. After that, the next stop was an interview with a veteran named Steve, who serves as the VP of his family’s manufacturing company.
DML, Ashley and Dave visited Ruth in her North Indianapolis home for an hour. Ruth, who turned 90-years-old today, was sent to America by her parents in 1938. Her mom and dad were later killed by the Nazis.
Ruth’s daughter, Vicki, also weighed in by sharing her thoughts about how important it is for immigrants to respect the process of becoming a legal citizen, and how America’s legal immigration system saved her mother’s life.
DML asked Ruth about the biggest changes that she’s seen take place in the US over the years. Ruth says the biggest difference between today and the good ole’ days is the attitude of kids. “We were very disciplined, if we were told to do something we did it. We had respect for elders, and the law,” said Ruth. When DML asked if men were more gentlemen-like in the ole’ days, she asked DML to provide an example. DML asked, “Well, in the old days, I assume men opened the door for you when walking into a store?” She replied, “Yes, they did.” DML responded, “Well, do they open the door for you today?” Ruth shot back a wisecrack which sent DML breaking into laughter. “The doors open themselves today, so I really don’t know,” said Ruth.
DML headed to Logansport, IN later in the afternoon where he met with Steve, the VP of Ameri-Tek Manufacturing. Steve and his 88-year-old dad lead a company of 11 Americans who make the fittings used to create the products we use each day, like pots and pans.
“Manufacturing is vital to America’s success,” said Steve. “Made in America is a really positive thing, and we need more of it. America makes the best products, but trade deals like NAFTA put incredible pressure on companies like ours to survive. But we are survivors, and as a family we’ve remained in business throughout all the downturns.” When asked about what makes America beautiful, Steve’s dad, Joe, chimed in by saying, “Freedom.” He continued, “Go to other countries and you can’t cross a border without a gun in your face, but in America you can cross from coast to coast as you like.”
Steve’s wife Debbie runs the office. She told DML that the hardest thing about the business is when they have to layoff workers. “These people have kids, they need to put food on the table, it’s the hardest part of this business — letting people go when times get tough,” said Debbie. Steve responded by saying they haven’t had to layoff this year, and that business has been holding steady for the past few years.
More details on these interviews will be revealed in the film, America the Beautiful.
While DML, Ashley and Dave were holding interviews, I cleaned the RV. We’ve had nothing but trouble with this 2014 Berkshire. We’re 7 days into the trip and there hasn’t been a day when something hasn’t gone wrong. Today, the window shade to the door fell off, as did one of the cabinet doors.
We’re hunkered down in Indianapolis for the night, and tomorrow we will be making our way to Kansas City. After that, we will continue westbound to Colorado and Utah for a few days. Our schedule is starting to fix itself out as we continue to the western states.
Tonight there will be no long hours of driving in the RV. Stay ready for more updates as the days go on.