CASTLE HAYNE, NC (WWAY)-- What's it like to live in a town with a cement plant? Hundreds of people came out to Stop Titan's first ever Picnic in the Park to find out.
"I don't care if they go somewhere else, they just don't need to be anywhere near parks and water and your children," said Alexandra Allred, who lives near a cement plant in Texas.
Even though the NC Division of Air Quality has granted Titan America an air permit many Castle Hayne residents are still fighting the would-be employer.
The message at Sunday's event, and those who delivered it, were a little different than at just any anti-Titan rally.
"I didn't know anything about the cement industry until I moved to my town that's the cement capital of Texas," said Allred. "About three months after living there my perfectly healthy boy got very sick and he was hospitalized five times in six months."
People from towns across the country that are home to cement plants came and shared their horror stories Sunday.
Many of them believe that terrible things are happening because of the levels of pollution emitted from these plants.
"We have sick people. It's not only cancer, we have accelerated asthma, which they finally agreed to that we have," said Jeff Galemore, who lives near a cement plant in Kansas. "We have MS, we have kidney problems. My sister's had a kidney transplant, there's five in the community."
Stop Titan members say these stories have reinvigorated their resolve and that they plan on continuing to battle the cement plant.
"It's great for us to learn about these personal stories and to hear how dangerous it is for all of us, for our children and for our adults," said Tracy Bruno.
"I took away that in reality it can be worse than we actually think it can be," said Tom Mcgraw.
Sunday's event comes days after the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a legal challenge against the NC Division of Air Quality's permit for Titan America.