BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – They are living history; reminders of scientific advancement which sprung from the unsuspecting coal country that was 1950’s West Virginia.
Now, the Rocket Boys have returned home for the festival held in their names. Homer Hickam Jr. and Roy Cooke are ready for the Rocket Boys Festival, which kicks off Friday evening.
“Oh I love being around the people and letting them know that we’re actual people, not just somebody out of a book or movie,” Cooke said.
Homer Hickam, Jr. wrote about the experience of becoming a young man in mining town, Coalwood, WV. His story inspired the annual festival which celebrated southern West Virginia for 20 years now. Both he and Cooke said this could be its last year.
“I feel sad that it’s the last one, yet Homer and I have talked about it a long time, we want it to go out while we still can go out,” Cooke said.
Unique for its ability to transcend time, their story is able to leave its mark on both young and old. Kids from all over the state came to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine Friday morning to hear about a tale of success that came from coal country. Hickam said he wants kids to grow up with the idea that they can achieve anything they want in life.
“Hopefully (we’ll) spread some messages of optimism and hope, and our advice to go out and live a good life, a great life,” Hickam said.
Hickam said this great life he has lived led to finding a family along the way.
“Well I love my brother, Roy Lee. I love all the Rocket Boys,” he said.
The Rocket Boys will be in town all weekend for the Rocket Boys Festival. There is a list of places to catch these two all weekend, and it can be viewed on the Rocket Boys Festival website.