BECKLEY,WV (WOAY) – In 1907 on December 6th, there was a mining disaster in Monogah, West Virginia that resulted in the death of 362 miners. In 2009, Congress proclaimed each December 6th as National Miner’s Day.
National Miner’s Day is a day of reflection, when appreciation is shown to Miner’s for their hard work and sacrifices. It’s a day to honor coal miner’s and their accomplishments.
One Miner who worked in the mining industry for 45 years says, ” It is good to know that folks think about it enough because Miner’s have carried the country a lot of times on their backs.” Mike Shumate, Coal Miner. Thomas White worked underground in the coal mining industry for 28 years and he says, ” I think it’s a good day to recognize coal miner’s going underground doing all that hard work.”
Coal miners extract coal and other minerals from the earth through mining which is strenuous work. ” It is physically demanding, health wise it can cause a lot of problems with your lungs and then also with just your body itself.” Said Shumate. Making a huge sacrifice to dedicate half their lives to the coal mine industry, these coal miners are still hard at work. ” Continuous miner shuttle cars, rit bolt machines, everything underground I worked on all of it .” White adds.
Working in the coal mining industry may have been hard on the body but for some it was good for the soul. “My father was, my grandfather was a coal miner and it just runs in the family and I got in it and loved it. To me it’s just like another family, I mean we worked together in the coal mines, you couldn’t wait to get out the mines everyday to meet the guys you worked with and just have a good time.” Says White.
” It was a good life, a good living, like I say good comradery with the crews that you work with and everything. Everybody more or less become a family.” Says Shumate.