The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 4, 2012

UBB Miners Memorial work nearly complete

The Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial is set to be complete by the first part of July, according to Mike Gwinn, the memorial group’s vice president.

He says he hopes to see a dedication ceremony set for the end of July if everything goes according to plan.

The memorial is still awaiting the arrival of the entrance sign and the monument, which is being etched with text and images, from Rock of Ages in Vermont.

Also nearing completion is the First Responders Tribute, a bronze relief sculpted by West Virginia artist Ross Straight, and signage from Interpretive Graphics that will explain the UBB story.

This memorial in Whitesville will pay tribute to the 29 men who lost their lives April 5, 2010, during the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County.

Pray Construction is putting the finishing touches on the plaza this week. Plants and trees will be delivered from Valley Gardens in Charleston later this week, also.

The stone veneer and limestone coping on the memorial’s walls were completed last week by Means Stone and Blue Creek masonry.

Gwinn says invitations for the dedication ceremony are expected to start going out next month to family members and guests. When an exact day and time is selected for the dedication, Gwinn says the public will be notified.

The project raised an estimated $700,000 and Gwinn says some of that amount will be left over.

That money could potentially be used for upkeep of the park, developing a website, or a scholarship fund.

For more information about the memorial project, visit the UBB Miners Memorial Facebook page, check them out on Twitter @UBBMemorial, or e-mail

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