BECKLEY — Miners, community members and others connected with the state’s coal mining industry will gather at Tamarack in Beckley on Thursday, Oct. 1, for the 2015 Miners’ Celebration, which is sponsored in part by Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS).
The annual event will feature a reception and dinner to recognize those who play a role in the success of the state’s mining industry.
“Every person who works in the industry—whether they are a safety engineer, miner, environmental professional or equipment supplier—contributes to each ton of coal produced, as do countless community leaders, educators and mining families,” said Dr. Tony Szwilski, chairman of the event planning committee and director of CEGAS.
At the event, four Logan Countians will be recognized and entertainment will be provided by Logan County’s Coal Fired Band.
Those from Logan being recognized will be:
— Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., the winner of the 2010 “America’s Got Talent” TV show and a successful performing and recording artist, will be honored with a Spirit of the Coalfields award, which is presented to individuals who have overcome events to succeed.
— Jasper Sugg of Man will receive the Homer Hickam Collier Award, which goes to a coal miner who epitomizes the spirit, dedication and skills of the mining profession.
— Gary White, Interim President of Marshall University, has served in several senior management positions in the coal industry for more than 40 years. He will be honored with the “Because of You” Management Professional award.
— Diane Barnette, will be honored with the “Because of You” Community Investment. A co-owner of Mining Repair Specialists at Holden, Barnette is a very active volunteer and participant in Logan County community projects and events.
The “Because of You” award is given to those who have given significant contributions to West Virginia’s coalfields heritage. Others receiving the award include: CEDAR of Southern West Virginia for Community Involvement; Sandi Davison for Women in Mining; Gary Frampton for Safety Professional; Helen Curry Southall for Educator of the Year; J.H .Fletcher and Co. for Outstanding Innovation; Mike Castle for Environmental Professional, and Terry Potter for Engineering Professional.
The Coal Heritage Highway Authority/National Coal Heritage Area will present the Coal Heritage Award for Excellence in the Arts (Johnnie R. Shuck); Coal Heritage Award for Historic Presentation (Winding Gulf Restoration Organization); the Coal Heritage Award for Interpretation (West Virginia Mine War Museum); and the Coal Heritage Award for Research and Documentation (Marsh Fork High School Alumni Association for Greenways and Recreation Preservation).
The evening’s entertainment will be provided by Ray Perry of Coal Fired Band of Logan County, along with young Liam Farley, a musical child prodigy who plays the fiddle.
The gala will begin at 5 p.m. with a free reception in the Tamarack atrium. Dinner and the awards ceremony, which require a ticket, will begin at 6 p.m. in the ballroom. Tickets for the dinner and awards ceremony are $50 a person and a table for eight can be purchased for $400. In addition, sponsorships are available in a range of $1,000 to $6,000. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased by calling ext.6-4029 or by e-mailing [email protected]
In addition to Marshall’s CEGAS, the Miners’ Celebration is a cooperative project of the National Coal Heritage Area; Strategic Solutions LLC; the United Mine Workers of America; the West Virginia Coal Association; and the West Virginia Division of Energy, Office of Coalfield Community Development.