Miners memorial to be dedicated on Sunday
Huntington City has been busily preparing for the dedication of the Crandall Canyon miners memorial on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. The dedication program will include Governor and Mrs. Jon Huntsman, Catholic Bishop the Most Reverend John Wester and Elder M. Russell Ballard from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two of the deceased miners families will also speak at the dedication ceremony.
"It will be a nice and fitting program," said Michael Mower of the governor's office and who has been instrumental in the development of the memorial.
The public is invited to the ceremonies and to come and see the new memorial which Carbon County artist Karen Templeton recently completed. The sculpture that was formulated in Templeton's Spring Glen studio was taken a few weeks ago to the Metal Arts Foundry in Lehi where the bronzing process was completed.
The sculpture has reproduced likenesses of each of the miners including: Kerry Allred, Carlos Payan, Luis Hernandez, Brandon Kimber, Gary Jensen, Dale Black, Don Erickson, Manny Sanchez and Brandon Phillips. It will rest upon a concrete wall.
Huntington City has been busily preparing the small park area at the mouth of Huntington Canyon to receive this monument. Concrete and landscaping work has been underway to prepare the area as a fitting place for the monument to be placed. It is adjacent to the Huntington City Cemetery and near the Canyon View Junior High School where the families spent much time during the Crandall Canyon disaster. During the disaster mine officials met with the families for briefings in the school.
Those that stand at the memorial site can also look up Huntington Canyon and see Crandall Canyon where six of the miners are still entombed in the mountain. The bodies of the three rescuers were recovered. Black is buried in Huntington City Cemetery, Kimber in Moab and Jensen in Richfield.
Several Eagle Scout projects are being done on the site of the monument. Julie Jones, Huntington City Council member has been coordinating the work with the scouts and the contractors. Scouts who are working on projects include Tyler Pulli, Nathan Mecham, TJ Furner, Colton Barnett, Bryson Weaver, Lance Sitterud and Caleb Woolsey.
The one year anniversary of the mine disaster was on Aug. 6. A private ceremony was held at the Crandall Canyon mine site. A monument was dedicated there which included headstones for each of the six miners who died at the site and three benches with the names of the rescuers on them.
Templeton has worked on the sculpture and she said she feels like she knows each of the miners personally now. She has become close friends with the deceased miners families during the time she has worked on the project. The families have been frequent visitors to the studio to watch the work progress which Templeton named Heroes Among Us. She was assisted in the endeavor by friend and fellow sculptor Lisa Chamberlain.
The sculpture features the images of the six miners trapped in the mine collapse on one side while facing the three miners who died during the failed rescue effort on the other side. The images are set in a 16-foot long, 6-foot tall curved wall.
Templeton says she doubts the community will ever get over the tragedy, but with the help of the new monument, the miners will be remembered.