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Cat Comes To Water Valley

Activity around the building which once housed Steele Manufacturing in Water Valley’s Industrial Park caught the attention of many Saturday and Sunday. — photos by Jack Gurner

by David Howell

    An Oxford company has been busy through the weekend moving equipment into the Water Valley industrial park in the building that formerly housed Steele Manufacturing.

    After one of Caterpillar’s key parts plants, located in Oxford, sustained heavy damage in last Tuesday’s tornado, Water Valley businessman Cayce Washington offered the use of the Steele Manufacturing Building to Caterpillar as they work to get an assembly line going, according to Yalobusha County Economic Development Director Bob Tyler. Washington had recently purchased the building.

    “At a time when the Caterpillar company in Oxford was experiencing a crisis, a local Water Valley company, Valley Tools, was in a position to reach out and lend a hand,” EDD Director Bob Tyler explained when contacted by the Herald.

    Washington said his goal was to help a neighbor who was in need. That neighbor, Caterpillar, is also a customer of his company. Washington said he contacted the company the night of the storm and offered assistance.       

    “We just want to be humble providers of this need,” Washington said Monday afternoon when contacted by the Herald.

    Tyler said a handful of people moved quickly to accommodate Caterpillar once Washington had made contact.  Many Vallians also noticed the activity as trucks traveled to the company’s Water Valley location throughout the weekend bring equipment.

    In addition to Washington, Tyler credited members of his board, Eddie Ray and Jane Dean Wortham, supervisors Butch Surrette and Tommy Vaughn and Cam Tyler for helping with the logistics of the project.

    Tyler could not comment on the how long the Oxford company would operate in Water Valley or the number of employees involved.

    Caterpillar is the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, and produces couplings for hydraulic hoses used in its earth-moving equipment at the Oxford plant.

    See this week’s Herald for more information about this story.



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