Within the past month, I have seen the passing of three fellow friends and coal miners, which in itself is a tragedy to their friends and most of all their families.
To add to this tragedy, each one of these good coal miners died after fighting years to get the benefits from Black Lung or Workers Compensation for injuries received while working in the coal mines to support their families, but they died in vain, because our government could care less about a man after he is unable to crawl back in the mines to dig more coal.
This is the way things are in the coal industry. If a man can’t do the boss man’s job anymore, get out of the way, there are many more waiting to take your place, and years from now these men will also take your place fighting for benefits that will never come.
I spoke to one widow, knowing her husband did not have much longer to live, went ahead and told him he had won his case that he had beat this crooked system, he died shortly in peace believing his wife would get the benefits he suffered so long to get for his wife and family. What a courageous thing for her to do, so her hard-working coal miner husband could die in peace.
What a cold and uncaring place we live in, just look around her in Logan County, all the billions of tons of coal mined from our mountains, what improvements do you see? There is nothing but broken hearts, broken promises from crooked politicians and broken backs of broken men.
Three of these broken men died this month. Three were good friends I will miss and never forget. I was proud to know and work with them in these coal mines.
James D. Kilgore