POINT PLEASANT We work in the dark, so you can live in the light.
This saying is very common among one particular groups of people coal miners. While some may find this phrase to be somewhat humorous and witty, the everyday, and sometimes unthought-of, use of electricity depends on the dedication of these individuals.
Boyd Hodge, a retired coal miner of Point Pleasant, originally of Fraziers Bottom, recently decided to do something to honor this particular group of people. Hodge has been working for 18 months and 16 days with Henry Repeating Arms Company and has designed a new .22LR the Henry Golden Boy Special Edition Coal Miner Tribute.
A special event to honor the launch of the firearm has been set for Saturday, April 28, at Dunlap's Gun & Pawn in Hurricane.
One particular reason Hodge wanted to honor coal miners is because he feels that the only other time this group of individuals are discussed is, unfortunately, if there is some kind of tragedy, such as a mine collapse or explosion. He also reported on his interest in guns. He said that when he was five years old, he would tag along with his father and brother, since he was too young for a gun. He said he received his first gun when he was eight. He combined his love for guns and the desire to honor coal miners, and the end product is a new rifle.
Hodge said when he first had the idea for the gun, he contacted Henry Repeating Arms and was turned down twice. Hodge said he did some research and came up with his own version of the gun. The company also had its own version of the gun, and Hodge said they had to agree to disagree. But then, the person from the company Hodge had dealt with caught a television program entitled COAL one night. After seeing the show, which follows coal miners and reportedly covers every aspect of the occupation, Hodge was contacted again and was told his gun concept would be made a reality.
According to Hodge, it takes a special breed of people to be coal miners not only the coal miners themselves, but their families also have to be very supportive, as well, since there is always a chance their families may never see them again, because of the dangers below.
Its a brotherhood, Hodges wife, Linda, said.
Hodge added that while some miners might argue outside the mine, once they go down into it, no one would be left behind should something unexpected happen.
Another personal touch Hodge added to the gun was his coal miners prayer. He added that he said this prayer every time before he went into the portal, which is the entrance to the mine. It is engraved on the stock of the rifle, and it reads:
Lord, as I enter this portal of man-made darkness, keep me safe from the dangers below, and bring me back to the light of day. In this, oh Lord, I pray, and if the worst should happen, let my friends and loved ones know that I did not suffer on this my final day.
Hodge will be at Dunlap's Gun & Pawn and will be signing certificates of authenticity for several of the guns. There will also be refreshments and door prizes.
This is a tribute to coal miners all over the world, Hodge said.
For more information about the event, call Dunlaps at 304-562-6661.