E. Bruce Harrison

I was 16 years old. I had won an essay contest on the topic “What does the West Point Manufacturing Company mean to me?”

The West Point Manufacturing Company was the company that owned the town I lived in. My essay was about how the local cotton mill—where my father worked for 49 years, and where I was already working part-time—about how the mill gave us all the benefits that we enjoyed…the schools, the gym, the local water supply, the picture show.

What I remember from the award ceremony was two things.

One, how scared I was because I had to stand up in front of an audience and say thank you for the recognition – and the prize money, which was a $25 U.S. Government bond.

And, two, how impressed I was with this one guy there who seemed to be in charge of things.

He set up the mike on this little stage at the picture show, he told me and he told the boss of the mill where to stand, he told the photographer how to take the picture of us, he told this young woman who was his assistant to get my name and phone number in case he needed to call me, and he told me to look for the next issue of our local weekly newspaper…that my picture would be on page one.

You can probably guess who that guy was. But I didn’t know, and I asked my Dad. He said, “That’s the company’s publicity guy.”

Here’s the journey taken since that life-changing experience:

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