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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

One Year Ago-Sago

The press release for today was that for two straight years no Virginia coal miners have been killed on the job. I am thankful for that. West Virginia and Kentucky were not so lucky. I waited till tonight to publish this. I wanted to see if anyone else noted what happened one year ago. How soon we forget. I was sleepless for many hours watching one of the most heart wrenching stories of my life unfold.

I blogged about this for days, with my first post here. I said after the first body was found that it was the fire boss before they would release the name. That got me mentioned on CNN and Fox with links to follow. I wish a thousands times over that this was not my claim to getting noticed nationally. I wish that if only for one day everyone would think about this when they flip that light switch, boot up that computer, enjoy that hot bath or shower. This week I remember 12 miners and one miracle named Randal McCloy Jr.

  • Terry Helms, 50, Fire Boss/Mine Examiner, 29 years experience

  • Martin Toler Jr., 50, Section Foreman, 32 years experience -

  • Alva Marty Bennett, 50, Continuous Miner Operator, 29 years experience

  • Fred Ware, 59, Continuous Miner Operator, 37 years experience

  • Jesse Jones, Roof Bolter Operator, 16 years experience

  • Dave Lewis, 28, Roof Bolter Operator, 1 year, 8 months experience

  • Jerry Groves, 57, Roof Bolter Operator, 28 years experience

  • Tom Anderson, Shuttle Car Operator, 10 years experience

  • George Hamner Jr., Shuttle Car Operator, 26 years experience

  • James (Jim) Bennett, 61, Shuttle Car Operator, 25 years experience

  • Marshall Winans, Scoop Operator, 23 years experience

  • Jack Weaver, 52, Section Electrician, 26 years experience

Brave men died that day. Some died slow, others in the blink of and eye. We saw a media frenzy and bad communications give family and friends false hope. I pray this will never happen again. If you are reading this you owe that freedom to the soldiers who fought for that. You also owe a thank you to the coal miners who power this nation.

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