GRAFTON—When most people think West Virginia, they think West Virginia Mountaineers and Coal Country. On Wednesday, the two came together to share love for the state.
Every fall, when the West Virginia Mountaineers walk onto Mountaineer Field they tap a large chunk of coal positioned outside of the stadium.
On Wednesday, Coach Neal Brown, his staff and the entire team traveled to Arch Coal’s Leer Mining Complex right here in Grafton, to see where it comes from.
Upon exiting the bus, the team was able to carry on tradition and tap a large chunk of coal positioned outside of the warehouse.
Once inside the warehouse, the team joined in on a tradition that the miners do before the start of every shift, a prayer.
General Manager of the mine Gaither Frazier or one of the Leer employees lead the miners in prayer before every shift, every day.
After the prayer, the team was treated to lunch courtesy of the mine, that was served by wives, daughters and other volunteers. Then, it was time for dessert; WVU cupcakes made from local baker Tashina Nelder, owner of T’s Tasty Treats.
After lunch, the players watched an educational PowerPoint presentation about the mine that showed a day in the life of a Leer miner while working deep inside the earth.
While at the mine, the team got a chance to take a look at one of the state’s most important industries up close and visit with numerous miners that are Mountaineer fans.
One of the sights they got to see was the mantrip, which is a shuttle that transports miners deep into the mines where they spend hours mining coal.
The players also went on a windshield tour of the mine. While on the tour, they learned how various coal mining equipment operates and talked one-on-one with the miners.
The tour was a way to give them a better perspective and understanding of the industry and what the miners do day in and day out.
Mine Manager Larry Gore shared that Coach Brown and his staff contacted the mine to set up this educational experience for his players.
“He called me about a week ago to set this up,” he commented. “He wanted to show the players some of the things here at the mine and what we do.”
Gore added that educating people is important to the country and the state of West Virginia.
“It is important for people to understand where coal comes from,” he voiced. “We have a good story to tell here at Leer.”
He revealed that in addition to having the team at the mine they were also celebrating another month accident free.
“This makes 406 days of no accidents,” Gore revealed. “Our safety record is great, and I contribute that 100 percent to the men that work here.”