Bruce Jones crawls through the darkness, on his hands and knees, shining a headlamp that lights up his co-workers’ orange reflective stripes.
With the hum of equipment now running like it’s supposed to again, he’s free to spend a few minutes talking about life as an underground coal miner.
“My family came from England, and when they ran out of coal in England, they came to West Virginia to mine coal,” he told the Bristol Herald Courier on Monday.
A fifth-generation coal miner, Jones is one of about 20 men who work at the Tech Leasing No. 2 Mine, more than a mile inside a Buchanan County, Va., hillside with a roof 4 feet high and, at many places, a floor covered in several inches of water.
“This is our way of life,” he said. “This is how I pay my bills.”
Indeed. Some more quotes
“It’s for the money,” said John Casey......
Billy McClanahan has been working in the mines 40 years – long enough to remember the days when most of the work was done by hand.
“Somebody had to go to work to feed us all, so I did,” he said of his choice to go into the mines at the age of 16, after his father got hurt on the job. “I decided to stay in the mines because I liked it. I still like it.
“Most of us here underground like this, we don’t know anything but mining,” said Roger Looney, who after 32 years in the mines drives the mantrip, a low vehicle used for traveling underground, as comfortably as a car on a Sunday cruise. “Taking us and putting us somewhere else, it wouldn’t work.”
“I like mining,” he says. “My daddy did it before me. I guess I just followed after him. And I’ve got a son getting ready to turn 18. I guess he’ll follow after me, if it stays.”
Check it out. Proud and honest folks doing it for many reasons.
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