Comment – The gift that keeps on taking…

It was a year that promised so much: a year for new beginnings, new adventures, and new, exciting plans.

But 2020 destroyed all of that. The hope of new beginnings and new adventures quickly became a battle – both figuratively AND literally – for survival.
Those exciting plans now lie in tatters; decimated by a global pandemic that has swept the Earth, taking with it our hopes, dreams and aspirations.

2020 has taken so much. It has taken our freedom and our liberty. It has robbed us of the very things that mark us as people – Social interaction; travel; the ability to embrace others without fear. 2020 has tested our resolve, broken our spirit, stolen our joy. And with the end of this terrible year drawing inexorably closer, there is still no end in sight.

This past week saw the passing of two notable demolition men; each larger-than-life, but in markedly different ways. Both Leslie Squibb Snr and Peter Cordwell will leave a huge void in the lives of those around them. That void will extend way beyond their blood family.

Ours is an industry of family-owned business in which becoming an employee is to be welcomed into the family fold. In the case of both Squibb and Cordwell, their respective companies have lost their father figure. That loss will be felt throughout this extended family and beyond.

Like the road behind us, the road ahead appears littered with hardship, division, and an absence of joy and positivity. And here in the demolition industry, I fear that the road ahead will also be lined with casualties.

Companies built up over years and decades; reputations forged over generations. Gone in the blink of an eye. Years, decades and entire careers dedicated to a single company or a single industry. Obliterated.

I wish that the combined forces of science and politics had a solution. As it stands today, they don’t. I wish I could visit my parents or spend time with my grandchildren. But I can’t. In fact, there is now a very real possibility that my grandsons will refer to me not as “granddad” but as “that bloke on FaceTime”.

I wish there was a but, or a however to all of this. But there isn’t. The road ahead looks to be as challenging as anything that any of us have ever encountered.

Some in this sector are doubling down, concentrating on a core set of skills in the hope that they will be protected within their niche. Others are seeking diversification in an attempt to balance the threat to pure demolition. Personally, I am not convinced that either is the final solution.

We can hunker down and we can duck and run. But sadly – tragically – the pandemic and its economic fallout is going to get some of us.

I don‘t have a solution. I have neither a magic wand nor a silver bullet. All we have now is our resolve and our determination.

To everyone reading this, I sincerely hope you make it through. Regardless of personal relationships and historic differences, we are all a part of the global demolition brotherhood. We are in this together and I hope we will emerge together as well.

I am sure that the families – real or actual – of both Leslie Squibb Snr have fond memories of those they have lost. When the grief subsides, I hope you can all find some solace in those memories. And I hope those memories and recollections help you through the remainder of a year we’ll all wish to forget.