FORT GAY - A former Island Creek Coal Company miner has been chosen as the 2008 Kentucky Coal Man of the Year.
Ed Chafin of Fort Gay was chosen as "2008 Kentucky Coal Man of the Year" by the Kentucky Mining Institute (KMI). The selection was announced at the organization's 69th annual awards banquet held Sept. 5 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington, Ky. More than 500 mining personnel from seven coal producing states attended the event.
Woodrow Slone of Inez, Ky., made the presentation and reviewed Chafin's significant lifetime contributions to the coal mining industry. A marble plaque was presented to Chafin which read "This award is presented to Ed Chafin in recognition of leadership, dedication, and significant contributions to safety in the Ky. coal industry over a long and distinguished career."
Chafin began his coal mining career in 1965 with Island Creek Coal Company at Holden. He was a safety and training manager for Massey Energy subsidiaries for more than 24 years and worked in similar positions with Arch Coal and Pen Coal Corporation. Chafin also served as assistant director of the Division of Miner Training, Education and Certification for the Ky. Department of Mines and Minerals in Lexington.
During his 43 year coal mining career, he served on numerous boards and committees including the Ky. Education Training and Steering Committee, the Mine Safety and Health Administration's Job Safety Analysis Steering Committee, the University of Kentucky Advisory Board, the Pikeville College Mining Technology Advisory Council, the Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital Advisory Board and the Holmes Safety Association's National Executive Committee. Chafin was selected as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1979 and Who's Who In The South and Southwest in 1981.
Chafin is a past president of the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Mining Institute), the Martin County Holmes Safety Council, and the Ky. Post of the National Mine Rescue Association. In 2004, Chafin was selected Mine Rescue Man of the Year by the National Mine Rescue Association Kentucky Post.
While working with Massey Energy, Chafin served as technical advisor for the 20th Century Fox movie "Kentucky Woman", starring Cheryl Ladd.
Since retirement, Chafin has become an international mine safety consultant and travels to Mexico, Canada, Japan, the Bahamas and China. He was one of the first American instructors to be invited to the Peoples Republic of China to teach coal mine safety. Following a 31 day stint as a mining instructor in China, Chafin was honored by the China Coal Society as an 'International Coal Safety Leader'.
Chafin and his wife, Nancy, are the parents of two daughters, Anita Hatfield and Allison Hooser, and the grandparents of two grandsons, Brad Hatfield and Blake Hooser, all of Fort Gay.