The TV drama “9-1-1” has become one of my favorite shows the past couple of years.

That’s, in part, because the Fox show stars Peter Krause, who I recall fondly from one of the best, most under-appreciated TV shows ever — “Sports Night.” (If you’ve never seen that Aaron Sorkin-created and written show about a fledgling sports television network, you’ve missed something special.)

“9-1-1” portrays the lives and jobs of Los Angeles first responders. In a recent episode, Krause’s character, Fire Department Captain Bobby Nash, had one of the best lines about leadership I’ve heard.

I don’t have a direct quote, but it went something like this: Leaders, he said, have to be two places at once — out in front to provide direction and behind their team so they know you always have their backs.

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership this week.

The sudden closure of Wood-Mode, and the lack of communication from the company’s leadership has had a lot of people, including me, shaking their heads. 

They’ve been neither out in front to provide direction nor shown in any way that they have their former employees’ backs.

Late Monday, they gathered more than 900 people, told them their jobs no longer existed and handed them a letter with some details.

Then they disappeared.

I assume that Wood-Mode’s lawyers have probably advised ownership not to say anything. But staying out of sight is no way to treat a lot of loyal former employees who are still wondering what happened and why.

We’d ask company officials about that, but they haven’t returned our calls either. 

Wood-Mode employees received notification via automated voice message and text that all health and welfare benefits were terminated at the end of business Friday.

Still, not a word has been spoken publicly by owners Robert Gronlund, the CEO and board chairman, or his son, Brooks Gronlund, the president and chief operating officer.

There’s also been no  comment, beyond the original press release, from company spokesperson David Scarr. 

Thus, the leadership role in this situation has fallen to others. Fortunately, quite a few have stepped up, including elected officials like state Sen. John Gordner and state Rep. Linda Culver, organizations like CareerLink and the United Way, local food banks, area attorneys, including Joel Wiest of Sunbury, and more.

Stepping up when something bad happens is what the leaders are supposed to do. As poorly as Wood-Mode officials have performed here, it’s heartening to see how many across the Valley are looking to help. 

Since we broke this devastating community news online Monday, we have had two goals:

First and foremost, we have sought to provide as much helpful information to those who have lost jobs as possible. We will continue to spread the word about available resources, upcoming meetings, employers who are looking for help, job fairs, etc.

Secondly, our reporting team continues to work to get answers to two main questions: What happened and what the short, mid-range and long-term impacts of this decision will be.

Reporters Marcia Moore, Justin Strawser, Eric Scicchitano and Francis Scarcella have all been working hard to get those answers. We’ve done multiple stories on this issue since Monday, all of which remain available on a special portion of our website.

We will continue to work hard on this story in the coming days and weeks.

That’s what a community newspaper should do, especially when there is such a glaring communications and leadership void from the source.

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