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    Posted April 9, 2010 by
    Southeast Harlan County, Kentucky
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    West Virginia mine explosion

    Bennett Family - Harlan County Kentucky coalmine area


    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    The people in that part of country help build this nation from the sacrifices they made to heat and electrify this country, yet they were the last ones to benefit from its black golden rewards. Before we left Harlan County Kentucky in 1960 my father rented the house from the coal mines, he shopped at a coalmine owned store. We didn’t have running water back then but we did have an outhouse, and more importantly we finally had electricity that was powered by the sweat of the miners.

    My father, Willie Bennett, who worked in the mines for 37 years, was in a coalmine accident back in 1945 that crushed a lot the bones in his body and punctured his lung as a result he was laid up in a hospital for 1 year. If he didn’t make it through that accident most of us in these pictures wouldn’t be here today. Here are a couple of pictures from the way we once were from 1956 – 1958. My father died of black lung in 1986 which got all his sons and daughters back together for one last family picture together.

    My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives in this tragic accident, as usually this accident could have been avoided - so are the hazards of trying to make a living in that neck of the woods shoveling coal. How many more people will loose their lives before someone does something about the safety issues?

    Sadly I heard the company is throwing them a retirement party, they offered to pay for their funeral.

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