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Grim new concerns for one of Elkhart's 'Faces'


Jennifer Holderread

Jim Seida / msnbc.com file

Jennifer Holderread is growing more concerned as her husband runs through his unemployment benefits and her own job seems less secure.


Ask Jennifer Holderread to write the headline for her own life since she was profiled just three months ago in msnbc.com’s “Faces of Elkhart” and she says: “I live in fear.”

It’s a stark change of tone from June. At the time, although deeply concerned about what the economic downturn was doing to her native town and especially its jobless men, she maintained an optimistic outlook. “We’re a city with heart,” she said. “We’ll come back from this."

With her husband, Daniel, now more than halfway through his 52 weeks of unemployment benefits and no job prospects in sight, Jennifer Holderread, 32, has become concerned about her own job security in the property management field. Although her firm is doing well from a national perspective, she said, the vacancy rate at its Elkhart properties is alarming.

Add the new job fears to the family’s struggle to catch up on bills they fell behind on before they began receiving unemployment checks, and doubt now darkens Holderread’s mood daily.

“It’s just scary,” she said. “I honestly didn’t think it would get to this point.”

While Daniel Holderread continues to pursue every possible lead he sees for a job (he arrived at one recent hiring event for 250 positions that will pay $8.50 an hour to find hundreds of other applicants already in line), he is finishing up a technical school course to prepare him for work in the IT industry.

But the former RV industry worker’s best prospect for a job in the new field may require leaving town, something Jennifer Holderread was not considering even in July.

“I don’t want to move,” she said. “My family’s here, a majority of Danny’s family is here. We want to stay here and make our mark here but if moving is what it takes, unfortunately, that’s what has to happen.”

Click here to meet some of the other "Faces of Elkhart."