Randal McCloy Jr-The Gift of Breath
Life comes with no real guarantees. You are born, that first breath of air signifies life and each breath following that last one means you are alive, each breath is a gift which gets you on down the road. No one understands this better then Randal McCloy Jr. You will remember him as the sole surviver of the Sago Mine tragedy.
McCloy understands the value of this gift and has in turn passed on a gift of his own. He has written a 2 ½ page letter to each family who lost a miner in the explosion.
"I cannot begin to express my sorrow for my lost friends and my sympathy for those they left behind," he wrote. "I cannot explain why I was spared while the others perished. I hope that my words will offer some solace to the miners' families and friends who have endured what no one should ever have to endure."
McCloy explains with great detail what took place Jan.2 following the explosion. McCloy reports that at least 4 of the air packs the miners were using did not function properly and the men had to double up on the available oxygen. As air grew scarce the men prepared for what they felt was inevitable and as we know today, they wrote notes to their loved ones. McCloy went on to let each family know that Junior Toler led the men in the reciting of the Sinners Prayer.
"Some drifted off into what appeared to be a deep sleep, and one person sitting near me collapsed and fell off his bucket, not moving. It was clear that there was nothing I could do to help him," McCloy wrote. "The last person I remember speaking to was Jackie Weaver, who reassured me that if it was our time to go, then God's will would be fulfilled."
McCloy is the first to state that he has no idea why he survived but we are thankful that he did and that through his understanding of the gift of life he was willing to pass a great gift to others. May God bless you Randal, and may He continue to bless each family touched by coal mining today.