More work on Bonnie Collins’ album and a comment on the mine disaster

I have begun to put the captions on Bonnie’s pictures. I have about 150 done so far. Many of the remainder are obituaries and interesting news articles.  Any help on the identities of some of the mystery people would be appreciated.

Although this is a picture site, I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere sympathy and sorrow for the families of the miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine at Montcoal. Between high school and college I worked at No. 7 during the summer. Armco Steel owned the mine then (weren’t those the good_old_days?) and had given me a $3000 scholarship to attend WVU. In those days, WVU’s total cost was about $1800 per year, so that money went a long, long way. I never forgot Armco’s kindness and generosity, and at my father’s urging I wrote to Mr. Bill Verity, company president, after medical school to thank him, receiving a nice letter in return.

As of this writing only seven names have been released. To my great sorrow, one was my oldest and best friend, Deward Scott, with whom I had many fine adventures as a teenager (many of which I don’t think I should write about – some of those people are still living!) My heart goes out to his wife, Crissie and his brothers – Dallas, George, Danny and Greg, as well as his children, Jennifer and Daniel, and their mother, Joyce – also one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I also want to express my admiration for Governor Joe Manchin, who acted as spokesman and public face to the press and the world. Because of his enduring many sleepless nights and days the families were shielded from the prying eyes of the press.  He deftly deflected all the “who should we blame” questions and kept the press focused on the only topic that mattered:  we had family in that mine, and nothing else was important until we got them out – whether alive or not.  And when I say family I mean exactly that; we are all family, no matter what our blood relation.  Thank you, Governor; you are not in my party, but I shall surely help you in any capacity I can should you ever need or want it – of course at no charge.

That’s how we Hillbillies are.

Author: jwills

I was born in 1953 and grew up at Rock Creek, WV. I attended Mt. View Elementary and Marsh Fork High Schools. I am currently married and have two sons, one stepson, and three stepdaughters.

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