The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 20, 2011

UBB mine memorial awarded $5,000 grant

The Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group Inc. received a $5,000 grant last week from Stahura Conveyor Products (SCP Engineering), a company that is challenging other companies within the bulk materials handling and mining equipment industries to match its gift.

The money will go toward a UBB Miners Memorial to be built in Whitesville.

“We at SCP are grateful that we can participate in a memorial that will eulogize our friends and fellow miners who lost their lives in the UBB explosion for perpetual generations,” said John Stahura, COO of the Lewisville, N.C.-based conveyor products company with a local office in Sylvester. “I would challenge all businesses that supply the coal industry to help fund this worthy cause.”

In addition to its own donation, SCP Engineering was instrumental in connecting the Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group with Martin Engineering, which donated $25,000 to the memorial project in May.

“We appreciate the support and encouragement we are receiving from Stahura Conveyor Products, both financial and technical,” Miners Memorial Group President Sheila Combs said. “They were the first local business to contact us and offer assistance and were instrumental in securing the donation from Martin Engineering.”

Miners Memorial Group Vice President Mike Gwinn explained, “We are hoping that the memorial will serve as a historical marker as well as a monument that will commemorate events.”

He said the group wants the families to view the memorial as a place to heal, not just to mourn.

Part of the memorial will have educational information about mining and will have places for people to remember those who died and reflect on the Upper Big Branch tragedy.

The memorial is expected to stand where a temporary one is today on Coal River Road in Whitesville.

Fundraising for the project is expected to pick up over summer, and the group hopes to have the memorial completed before next April.

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