Nominations are being accepted for “Because of You” awards to honor people who have made significant contributions to West Virginia’s coal mining enterprise and the state’s mining heritage.
Awards in nearly a dozen categories will be presented at a dinner and awards ceremony planned as part of this year’s “Spirit of the Coalfields” Miners’ Celebration to be held Oct. 3 at Tamarack in Beckley.
According to event organizers, representatives of the state’s mining industry and community leaders will gather at the event to recognize miners, engineers, safety and environmental professionals and community members. Nominations for the awards are being accepted through June 1.
“Many of our engineering graduates find employment in West Virginia’s mining industry, which depends upon thousands of individuals in a number of different roles,” said Dr. Tony Szwilski, chairman of the event planning committee and director of Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences. “Every person who works in the industry—whether they are a safety engineer, miner, environmental professional or equipment supplier—contributes to each ton of coal produced, as do countless community leaders and mining families.
“It is because of every one of them that the mining industry is successful. This event is intended to honor and recognize the contributions of everyone involved. Last year’s celebration was a rousing success and we look forward to this year’s program being even bigger and better.”
According to Szwilski, “Because of You” awards will be presented in the following categories: Equipment/Technology Innovation, Safety Champion, Women in Mining, Community Investment, Environmental Champion, Engineering, Community Involvement and Educator of the Year. In addition, the Homer Hickam Collier and Spirit of the Coalfields awards will be presented.
Representatives of the Coal Heritage Highway Authority/National Coal Heritage Area will be on hand to present several of that organization’s top awards, including the Nick Joe Rahall Award for Outstanding Achievements in Coal Heritage Preservation, the Coal Heritage Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Coal Heritage Marketing Award and the Coal Heritage Research and Documentation Award.
The “Spirit of the Coalfields” Miners’ Celebration dinner and awards ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Szwilski added that the program also will feature exhibits and presentations focusing on a variety of aspects of the mining industry, beginning at 11 a.m.