Staff Editorial: Community pain and pride felt by all
It seems that at least a couple of times a year we as a community have pain to deal with. Last year at about this time we were all dealing with the trauma of two little boys gone from our midst due to a wall of water that washed their parents SUV down a wash stealing from the world sweet spirits that were part of our community.
This year we have had another set of tragedies, all within a week. First came the gas well explosion in Nine Mile Canyon that badly burned a young man from Wellington. And now, despite the fact as I write this we don't know the fate of six miners who are trapped under the surface of the Wasatch Plateau in Crandall Canyon, we have another painful event to deal with.
In the 17 years I have lived in this community of Castle Country, I have seen the best and the worst of times for some of those that live here. Tragic car accidents, missing people, industrial accidents, fires, mine explosions and collapses. There are, I'm sure, many that I don't know about, because while they didn't involve death, they are just as tragic nonetheless.
It's an emotional time for all of us whether we know the victims of cruel fate that are involved in what is going on right now in our community or not. Tensions are high and it's easy to become emotional.
On Monday, as publisher of both the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress I got numerous calls from various news agencies trying to seek information that they couldn't get formal official sources about the mine collapse. Some calls were from producers of some very prominent news shows. They were all very nice, but I have to admit I probably wasn't as pleasant as they were. All wanted to know names. They wanted to know how the families were feeling. They wanted to know what was wrong with the mine and how this could happen. It was if they thought I was part of their media fraternity and would give up anything I knew about the situation regardless of the pain and hurt it might cause others.
But what they didn't realize is that I may be a newsman, but I am a member of a community I love first. I basically told them that if they wanted to know about the effect the coal industry has on our area, about how our people are feeling or about the strength of a mining community, I would talk to them. But if they wanted names and ways they could get through to those most effected by the entire thing, I couldn't help.
"You know as much as I do," was my standard line.
One producer really pushed me and it was the wrong thing to do at 6 p.m. on a Monday afternoon when we are putting together a paper under the stress of such an event. I really let her have it about the national and upstate media sticking microphones in people's faces who were facing the loss of someone they loved. No, I told her, I would never give them the names of the families, even if I knew them.
The news is the news, and this mess is big news. But first and foremost it is a tragedy no matter what the outcome. People's lives are scarred forever with these kinds of events, even if the best outcome we can hope for occurs.
Like it or not, we are all connected, and we all need to take care of each other despite our differences, whether they be from county to county, religious, political or anything else for that matter. As a friend of mine who works with me and has lived here her whole life says, we may sometimes fight like hell between ourselves, but just let someone from the outside try to stick their nose into things, and watch what happens.
It's easy to be proud of our community of hard working people who provide services and products that help this state and nation thrive despite the fact we are sometimes ignored by the urban areas that exist just over the mountain.