Generations of GM Workers Reach End of Line

"I didn't even miss a day when my daughter was born," said Jason Lewis.

The grueling repetitiveness of standing on the line wore at the workers, even while they slept.

"I've dreamt many times the lines running and I'm trying to throw mufflers and I'm like 'hey, somebody's got to slow this down. I can't even keep up.' Then I wake up like, oh, I've still got three hours of sleep," Cummins said.

"It's like muscle memory. There are times I'd wake up out of a dead sleep, and my hands would be how I am at work, like I was doing my job," said Jason Lewis.

Despite the broken bones and nightmares, the plant closing left these workers with a modest buyout package, and a hole in their lives, shocked that the backbone of the Dayton area for so many generations would no longer be there.

"When the plant closed, I still found myself getting ready about 2 o'clock, getting in the shower, and then just sitting there like, 'I don't have anything to do," Lloyd said.

"The thought of not going in there no more, and not knowing what you were going to do afterwards, it's a weird feeling. It's the first time I've ever been without a job," said Jason Lewis.

Town Struggles: How to Bring in New Jobs

Not only did the plant closing impact the workers, but it was also the economic furnace for the entire Dayton area -- an area now reeling as it tries to find an industry to fill the gap and get back thousands of jobs.

"We're still feeling effects from [the plant closing], honestly. There was, of course, an immediate impact, GM and their suppliers represent more than 20 percent of our income through income tax," said Hicks.

Hicks, the former police chief of Moraine, now has the weight of the region on his shoulders. As the city manager of Moraine, his task is to salvage the plant and bring a new company and jobs to the space.

"We have a lot of talented people in this area that can build a product, we just have to identify what that product is and bring it in so they can begin building it," said Hicks, who is trying to stem the ripple effect of job loss before it devastates the community.

Ripple Effect: Business Shutter on Front Lines of Moraine

The doctors' offices in Moraine have fired physician's assistants because so many people immediately lost health care, and bars and restaurants are laying off staff due to the loss of a steady lunch and dinner crowd.

"It's all the trickledown effect. Anytime you lose traffic and people in the area, it's going to affect you in some way shape or form. The strong will survive and the rest will have to find another way," said Vincent Nyhan, who runs a neighborhood restaurant, Vinny's Bar and Grill, and says he has seen a 25 percent drop in business.

In neighboring Miamisburg, Michelle Collins runs a real estate business with her mother, which was fueled by the GM plant and those who supported it. Now, she deals regularly with clients who are desperate to unload unmanageable mortgage payments, as well as abandoned and foreclosed homes -- once a rarity in the area.

"It's tragic to see people at the ball park and at the grocery store and know that they're struggling. I guess in my business I know it a little more than other people do," she said. "Having a foreclosed property on my block was not anything we ever thought about. Now there's not a neighborhood in this city that's isolated from a foreclosure."

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