Laid-off Deere worker: Don't lose hope - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Laid-off Deere worker: Don't lose hope

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If the green and yellow birdhouse out in front of his house is any indication, Danny Murphy has always been a John Deere man.

The Hazleton resident worked at that Deere Tractor & Cab Assembly plant in Waterloo from 2011 to 2013 — until he was laid off.

“It's just … I don't know,” he said.

It was one of the best-paying jobs he'd ever had. This insurance wasn't bad either.

But he knew this: some things in life, you can anticipate. Others, you never see coming. Either way, you take it as it comes.

“Yeah, that's true,” Murphy said. “At 49, I never thought I'd be laid off. I never thought I'd be laid off from John Deere.”

Still, nothing could prepare him for that meeting.

“There was a stunned silence in the room when the first told everybody,” Murphy said.

Without his work at Deere, Murphy fell back on his side business, selling freelance storm video.

Then, while chasing a storm in western Iowa, he and his son were struck by lightning. They both survived, but the elder Murphy spent weeks in the hospital, and still hasn't fully recovered.

“I still get issues with my hands, issues with my arms and stuff,” he said. “It feels like sunburn all over.”

It also damaged the vision in one of his eyes. For months, he was on disability, unable to work. After that, the problem was finding a job that would support his family. So far, he's still been unsuccessful.

But even with the pain, there are no idle hands here. Months into unemployment, Murphy still spends his days searching for a job online.

It's not the perfect situation, but it's the next best thing.

“I'd rather be working,” he said.

Still, he has this advice for the 565 Deere employees that learned they would lose their jobs Friday.

“Don't give up,” Murphy said. “It's all I can say, because there's going to be a job out there for you, and there's going to be a job out there for me. It's great to know that.”

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