Incomprehensible acts of violence leaving families traumatized and heightening our questions about gun control and mental health care… the fiscal cliff and inaction by the politicians who represent us… it’s hard to hold your head up in the aftermath of these headline events.

Can these and other dark events that usher us out of 2012 be diminished by remembering the untold acts of kindness and generosity that occurred during the year and the promise that comes with 2013?

I hope so… I, for one, am looking forward to a bright and safe 2013.

Rural news headlines don’t ignore national events, but rather the content of local news promotes positive activities in the community focusing on sharing and giving. Local food bank and toy drives, “Adopt-a-Family” and “Tree of Giving” campaigns, and efforts to provide warm coats and blankets are news makers in the communities where the majority of our employees reside. We’ve had a tough year as a company. We have had six years of poor lumber markets and were shocked by the tragedy in late January that killed two of our employees. Despite a challenging year, our folks have been out there looking for ways to make life better for those less fortunate than they. Yes, the company promotes and participates in charitable activities, but for the most part it is our employees who take the lead in making things happen.

A new feature on our Hampton web site will highlight some of the charitable projects our employees and the company are involved in. Not meaning to “toot our horn,” just wanting to acknowledge the good things happening in our communities thanks to our employees and our company shareholders’ generosity.

Specific to our company’s operating environment, 2013 offers optimism in U.S. housing market recovery, export markets need lumber and have limited options for sourcing their requirements, and the U.S. and Canada are working together on promoting “wood is good” via the Softwood Lumber Board. These things will bode well for our industry and our economy, and our ability to continue to be charitable community members.

Happy New Year!

Steve Zika
CEO, Hampton Lumber