Coal is on the minds of many this election season, and it is especially on the minds of those in southwest Virginia after recently-announced layoffs at area mines.
Dozens gathered in Richlands, Va. to honor coal miners Monday night. Those honored were not the ones not listed on the Coal Miners' Memorial; rather, the community paid tribute to those still working in the mines and the 1,200 recently laid off.
“We are behind them; they are not by themselves and we will be glad to help them in any way we can," said President of Richalnds Area Ministerial Association Paul McNalley.
The community prayer vigil was spilt in four parts: praying for the coal miners, the impact on the community, the coal companies, and the coal miners' families.
Pearly Ramsey’s father and husband were coal miners, and her grandson still works in the mines. “I support the coal miners fully because that is all I’ve ever known," she said.
It is a difficult time for coal miners and their families, but coal miner Scott Boyd believes coal is the backbone of the economy. “Every time you turn the light on, thank miners that you can have light and you can have power on a day-to-day basis,” said Boyd.