The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce is building a new permanent endowment at the Beckley Area Foundation in conjunction with the installation of a memorial to the miners who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. The memorial marker will be unveiled on April 5th at 3 p.m. on the west lawn of the Raleigh County Courthouse.
Income from the Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce – UBB Miners’ Legacy Fund shall be used to enhance and maintain the memorial honoring miners involved in local mine disasters, or for other projects that either preserve the history or educate the public about local mine disasters and the role miners and the mining industry have played in Raleigh County.
Existing memorial markers for the Eccles mine tragedies of 1914 and 1926 and one relating the history of Beckley have been mounted on granite bases beside the newly purchased marker for Upper Big Branch. The community is invited to attend the unveiling.
The BRCCC has donated $2,900 toward the creation of this permanent fund at BAF. As 29 miners died at Upper Big Branch, the number holds special significance in building the endowment. While anyone may make additional contributions in any amount to the fund, it would be particularly appropriate to donate $2,900 or $290 or $29 or 29 cents.
The goal is to reach the Foundation’s $10,000 required minimum for a named fund as quickly as possible. All contributions will be invested and generate income year after year. This will ensure that there will be money available to maintain the memorial marker in perpetuity as well as underwrite education efforts dealing with mining in Raleigh County.
Mick Bates, a past chair of BRCCC, initiated the Chamber’s efforts to raise money for this project. He noted, “The dedication ceremony and the creation of the permanent endowment will honor the fallen miners and recognize those who continue to mine coal and provide electricity for the nation.”
Those who wish to make contributions to the endowment should make checks payable to BRCCC-UBB Miners’ Legacy Fund, and hand deliver or mail to Beckley Area Foundation, 129 Main St., Suite 203, Beckley, WV 25801.
Donations made in memory of specific individuals will be listed in the Foundation’s annual report.
Contact the BAF office at 304-253-3806 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further information.