The Wednesday, May 2 fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America rocked the Eaton Rapids community, left parts of the plant out of commission, and temporarily laid-off more than 100 workers of the Island City’s largest employer. The explosions at the magnesium plant left only two with mild injuries, but the event had the potential of hurting the wallets of many employees. Since the fire, however, opportunities have risen for Meridian employees to keep money coming in while the plant is under reconstruction.

The first option for Meridian employees was to volunteer through United Way. Volunteering 40 hours a week would keep standard paychecks coming to the Meridian workers. The announcement was a relief for some, and a great concern for others.

Other opportunities continued to arise. Linn Products Inc. of Charlotte is offering temporary placement for Meridian workers, the employees need only visit the factory in person, contact Linn’s hiring personnel, Marie Reeder, by calling (517) 292-3026, or apply through

“We’re just wanting to support the community,” said an official from Linn Products. “We’re offering anyone out of work from Meridian to get some cash flow.”

According to Eaton Rapids mayor, Paul Malewski, it’s likely Meridian won’t be fully operational until as late as August. The event is not deterring the town and its citizens from stepping up to support the out-of-work Meridian employees. There will be a fundraiser at Red Ribbon Hall on Sunday, May 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to raise money and collect food items for the workers and their families. Readers can find a link for the event on Facebook under the title “Spaghetti Dinner Benefit and Food Drive.”

In times of struggle and crisis, the phrases “We are ER,” and “The Only Eaton Rapids on Earth,” seem to ring true in the Island City.