Coal miners represent the best of America

By Jens Lange

Dear Editor:

First I'd like to express my deep sadness at the recent news of the idling of the Bowie #2 Mine. Secondly, Deb and I would like to give our best wishes to the affected miners and their families. Coal miners represent the best of America. For over one hundred years these folks have toiled in the hills of the North Fork in frequently poor and hazardous conditions. Miners faced and predominantly overcame the hazards that Mother Nature placed before them; faults, bumps, methane, etc. They set aside family events for swing shift or graveyards and the notorious longwall moves that required overtime for week after week. Miners spent more time with each other than with their families. The camaraderie was awesome. I so miss it. I so miss my fellow miners, and we greatly miss their families.

Unfortunately, I do not miss the North Fork Valley due to the fact that the folks that fought the mines, their expansion, the prospect of the Oak Mesa Mine, that relished in the poor treatment of Bill Koch, etc., are still in the valley. They are more concerned with saving the Blue Sage, the theater, the Montessori school, etc. Truly, I could not grasp that any of that was of great importance to THE COMMUNITY as a whole, like the actual public schools, the ambulance service, the food banks and youth services. I believe "that crowd" espouses a general selfish behavior fulfilling their own desires. Now, hopefully some of those folks will join the rest of the valley in doing everything in their power to fight to keep the lone remaining mine in the North Fork operating.

Have I gone too far? Perhaps. The late Jim Cooper, friend and mentor, told me multiple times when I'd get on a tirade, "Jens, before you just spout something out, even if you are right, think: What purpose does it serve?" Respectfully, I hope this passes as a good purpose.

Coal miner forever,

Jens Lange
Katy, Texas