Local delegate leads fundraiser for fallen miners’ families


June 23, 2014

The coalfields were rocked in May of this year by another tragic set of events yet again that lead to the deaths of two underground coal miners.

“Southern West Virginia has powered our nation decades but the cost has been tremendous, even downright catastrophic at times,” said West Virginia House of Delegates Representative Joshua Nelson (R-Boone). “Though the events happen time and time again, one overlying theme always seems to hold true; that the coalfields of southern West Virginia are of some of the closest-knit communities in our nation.”

The area has known all too well the bitter sting that comes with the news of such events. Nelson said the unfortunate events leading to the deaths of Boone County coal miners Eric Legg and Gary Hensley were no different.

Legg, 48, and Hensley, 46, were both fatally injured on May 12, 2014, at the Brody Mine #1 in Boone County after an accident caused by a severe coal outburst, which is a sudden outburst of coal and gas.

“The community pulled together and collectively raised a very significant amount for the families of these two fallen miners,” he said.

Nelson, the House of Delegates representative from Boone County’s 23 District, spearheaded the fundraiser.

The Delegate is currently on active duty as an officer with the 130th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard, but that did not stop him from stepping up to help.

He said via a phone call that, “Our community takes care of each other… that is just what we do. A couple thousand miles of distance doesn’t give us an excuse not to try and help our neighbors. It was the very least we could do.”

Nelson’s father, Mark Nelson, hand delivered the money to the two families in cash.

The senior Nelson said that, “It’s a real honor to be able to help these folks. Only God knows what they have been and will continue to go through for quite a long time. They have a long road to hoe. They are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Both of the fallen miners have children and family members that will surely be healing for years to come, Nelson added.