Miners, rescuers honored at memorial service
|Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman delivers remarks during the memorial service.|
On Sept. 9, an interfaith memorial service was conducted in honor of the nine coal miners and rescuers who died in the Crandall Canyon disasters.
During the memorial service, local, state and federal dignitaries spoke about the mine collapses at Crandall Canyon and the community impacted by the disasters.
"There has been pain, discomfort and loss on the part of a lot of good people here. We honor friends and fellow citizens who lost their lives in Crandall Canyon and the subsequent rescue attempt. These were men who loved and were loved by others. Their time was cut short. Our community and our state has been hurting. There is not a single person in this crowd or within reach of a television camera who has not felt anguish and shed a tear over the events at Crandall Canyon," said Gov. Jon Huntsman.
The governor stated that the present is a time for healing. " We need to ensure the lives of Kerry Allred, Don Erickson, Luis Hernandez, Manuel Sanchez, Dale Black, Brandon Phillips, Gary Jensen, Carlos Payan and Brandon Kimber live on," said the governor. "Mining and coal are a part of our state and will be for generations to come. Never let it be said that in this time of need we didn't rise to the occasion. We respect our neighbors more. We love a little more and may God bring peace to this community," added Huntsman.
Rep. Jim Matheson pointed out that United States lawmakers passed a resolution last week honoring the trapped miners and the rescue teams.
Richard Stickler, assistant secretary of labor at the U.S. Mining Safety and Health Administration, said it was with a heavy heart that representatives from the federal agency paid tribute to the victims who died at Crandall Canyon.
"We feel your pain," commented Stickler. "We lost one of our own. Gary Jensen was a valued member of MSHA. He was all the good that MSHA stands for. He was an EMT, on the town council, a dedicated family man to his wife, Lola, and four children and three grandchildren. His ideals guided his life and he passed that onto his children. He gave his life to save others. They are true heroes. I pray God will bless and comfort you."
All of the nine coal miners and rescuers were eulogized during the service.
Colin King read tributes about the remaining eight miners and rescuers prepared by the families of the victims.
He said the following.
Kerry Allred started life prematurely and spent time in an incubator. He had the nickname of Inky for awhile and later became known as Flash.
Allred would have turned 58 years old on Sept. 29. He passed away just six days before his wedding anniversary.
Don Erickson was a good father and husband. He was also a good grandfather and proud of his grandkids.
Erickson had a lot of friends. He enjoyed being in the outdoors and he enjoyed telling stories.
Jose Luis Hernandez was born in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. He and his fiancÃ¯Â¿Â½e were neighbors as children.
Hernandez started working as a coal miner to earn money. He wanted to return to Mexico some day. His wife and daughter were the loves of his life.
Carlos Payan Villa was born in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.
Villa sent money to Mexico to pay for his five siblings to attend school and help his parents with the family's the bills.
Villa was the life of the party. He loved to drive fast and exercise.
Brandon Phillips was a great father and son. He had a lot of friends and relatives.
Phillips loved to go snowboarding. Even though he got hurt doing it, he would get right back up and try again.
Manny Sanchez was 41 years old. He loved and provided for his family.
Sanchez was an outdoor guy. He enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Sanchez taught during trials and tribulations to take one day at a time.
Dale Black was 48 years old. He had two children.
Black had the ability to make friends. No one was a stranger to him.
Black fished and hunted, was also a tremendous golfer.
Brandon Kimber was a superman. He was born in Moab and graduated from Grand County High. He was 29 years old.
Everyone loved the adventerous Kinder. He was an attentive father to three children.