The Recession Affects Everyone

This is a recent news story from here in Connecticut. My comments below:

Hearst Connecticut Newspapers

Greenwich Time, Stamford Advocate, Connecticut Post (Bridgeport)
Danbury News-Times

By Peter HealyStaff Writer

Michael Molgano, a Stamford man paralyzed in a 1975 diving accident, had
done the same work as his able-bodied co-workers at Danbury-based Praxair Inc.
and its predecessor company since 1982.

He said Praxair, an industrial gases company, had given him no preferential
treatment other than equipment and other adjustments that enabled him to do his
information technology job from a battery-powered wheelchair. Molgano, 49, had
worked mainly from home during the past several years.Praxair treated Molgano
the same as it did the other 1,600 people it laid off late last year.

But it still hurt.

Molgano said an incoming call from his supervisor on Nov. 11 cut short a
phone conversation he was having with a Praxair client in Chicago."

She said, 'I have really bad news. You're gone. Today is your last day, and
your (computer) access will be removed,' " Molgano recalled."

I hung up the phone and just sat there, thinking about what happened," said
Molgano, who represents Stamford's 15th District on the Board of
Representatives. "I was just devastated for that day. I had been doing this same
thing for 26 years, and they just pulled the plug -- like that."

Molgano's severance pay from Praxair ends May 31. He said he also is
receiving unemployment and medical benefits while looking for a new job. His
last position at the publicly traded Praxair was as a Lotus Notes

Though he realizes Praxair faces pressure tocontrol costs and please
stockholders, Molgano said the company could have kept him to justify the money
it invested over the years to accommodate him. In addition, his paralysis from a
neck injury makes it harder to compete with the hordes of job seekers out there,
he said.

"I never wanted pity and never will," Molgano said. "But it's possible I'm
going to become a tax recipient rather than a taxpayer."

Molgano said his savings are too small to live on, and he is eligible to
collect a partial pension,His parents' resources are limited, too. Last summer,
their diner, Lou's Kitchen, closed after 38 years on Forest Street in downtown
New Canaan. They could not find a buyer after a new landlord doubled their

Asked about Molgano, Praxair spokesman Nigel Muir said, the company "can't
comment on individual people laid off." He said the 1,600 people were cut
throughout Praxair's global operations but would not say how many people it
fired at the Danbury headquarters.

Last month, Praxair said in a statement that "substantial slowdown in
demand in the fourth quarter" prompted it to close plants and underperforming
and noncore product lines and businesses. Praxair had sales of $9.4 billion in

The former chemical giant Union Carbide, Molgano's original employer, spun
off Praxair as a separate company in 1992.Praxair is paying for job placement
seminars that Molgano is attending.He said he has posted a resume on
and has contacted various recruiters.

"I'm trying everything to get my name out there and hopefully find
something," Molgano said. "It's going to be tough right now because a lot of
people with the same IT positions I had are looking for work. The market is

With Praxair and Union Carbide, Molgano had been a programmer, senior
programmer analyst and senior applications developer, among several other job
titles. He had commuted as far as Danbury and Tarrytown, N.Y., in an adapted van
with hand controls.

I've known Michael for thirty years, since about four years after his accident. He has a deep and abiding faith in God, and has been an active member, a leader, in the same Catholic parish for all that time. He has been a member of the city government, and has been a great, amazing role model for generations of youth. Recently, his parents sold their home, and he has had to move. His parents are two of the kindest, most heartfelt people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

In these dark times, I pray that we keep in mind those whose challenges may be greater than ours. God places different challenges to different people. How we rise up to those challenges is what sets us apart. As Christians, it is my hope that our lives will be a light to others in spite of whatever the world dumps on us, as Michael's has been and will continue to be. The things that we face can only keep us down if we let them.

Keep in prayer. Remember your blessings. And remember what the Word of God tells us in Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?


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