BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, the Raleigh County community came together to remember the 31 victims of the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion. 29 of which lost their lives.
In Beckley, a Remembrance Ceremony was held outside the courthouse in the Miners Memorial Garden.
Delegate Mick Bates said the day of April 5 will never be the same for many people. He said for weeks, eyes were on the Mountain State.
“We all knew somebody,” Bates said. “We all knew somebody that was directly or indirectly in what went on. This whole community came together in a way I’ve never experienced in any other place I’ve been. The whole world was looking at us in those days and weeks after that event.”
In addition to the ceremony, Bates said a Miners Memorial Fund is set up with the Beckley Area Foundation in the hopes of educating the community about the contributions of coal and coal mining. He said they have raised roughly $1,600 in interest.
That money goes to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine for an exhibit on the Upper Big Branch Mine.