Oh how we value LIFE!!
Ten years ago, tears streamed from my eyes as I watched the coverage of an attempted rescue. Ray had only been out of the mines for two short years, so I was imagining, as were all present and former mine families, such a dreaded phone call. TRAPPED.. FLOODING…
Those who are familiar with the local mines know. These mines are very low mines, rock falls are common, and the pumps ALWAYS run to keep the water out as the area the guys are working. When a mine is abandoned all the company does is shut off the pumps. The mine fills with water and it is all over.
A fear is electrical failure, generators back up the electricity, but it is a risk. Every day the men go into the mines knowing the risk and trading this risk for more pay to support their families. It makes the guys underground on the same shift more team players than most work places. If something goes wrong, and every miner who has been under for any length of time has seen at least one, if not multiple accidents, the guys get you out as one unit.
I remember one phone call. Ray called himself, so not to worry me, but could not mask the pain in his voice. I had Caleb and Baby Levi and was pregnant with Micah. I heard, “I smashed my hand, I’m OK, they are taking me to the hospital.”
It was not a time you call people, or ask many questions. As usual, I had few people to help on hand. I took the kiddos to the hospital with me. I don’t remember the drive other than the feeling of that knot, the drive to get there and the light headedness. And the praying…
I saw him on the gurney, he was as white as the sheet. There was a covering over his hand, the explanation began. He had been rock dusting. Ray was operating a shuttle car during this period of employment. Sometimes, they pull a duster behind them to keep the risk of explosion down. His trip rope was too short, he complained about it but was told to keep working. As a result, his hand had to be out of the protected part of the shuttle car. The shuttle car was made to articulate in the middle, his hand was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he crushed off his pinky finger and half of his fourth and a portion of his third finger.
His face was dirty, they had cut his clothes off and they were under the gurney, caked in black and greasy. His eyes held PAIN in check so as not to scare the babies. I must admit, I almost passed out… ME.
So back to the miners… with bated breath we watched the operation. I could not turn it off. Since it was a local rescue they had 24 hour coverage, Que Creek being within the viewing area of our local news station. We all imagined it was our husband, son or father. That is how community works, isn’t it?
The families, the country did NOT say, “Oh well, they are buried. Nothing we can do.” And move on. Something inside our humanity compels us to seek to dig to claw with our hands if we have to…because there is LIFE below. Don’t you think God made us that way? Because we see it in EVERY culture, EVERY country; after each natural disaster, families, communities dig and search…COMMON we have this in COMMON.
Can’t we at least be consistent?
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19.
Happy Tenth anniversary to the REBIRTH of the Que Creek Nine, You matter to God and you matter to all of US. NINE for NINE!!!