It was a blink of an eye and the focus of the country changed from Minnesota to our own back yard. Unlike the unbelievable event back east, for us this is more like deja vu. We have been here before.
For our community this is painfully familiar. Everyone's lives are intertwined with the mining industry, even those of us who do not have any immediate family employed in the mines.
For all of us this is personal. Right now the majority of people I have spoke to want to keep the focus on the six men who are underground and the rescue efforts involved and not about the fault of who may be responsible.
Many have feelings about what happened and in the end the causes and blame may divide our loyalties, but for now it is not the time to point fingers and assign blame.
Even as the story unfolds our lives go on. We still have to mow our lawns, buy groceries and go to work each day. We just don't do those things without our thoughts staying a bit in the middle of the rescue.
So how do we help. In some ways, the best way is to continue to do what we always do. Keeping our community and families functioning so those who are trained and knowledgeable can focus on what they have to do.
We are blessed to have so many, so close, that are so well trained in underground rescue. Just last week teams from all over the west converged at the College of Eastern Utah for the annual mine rescue competition. The local teams were among the top teams, as always.
These men train year round, not for the yearly competition, but to be ready for just the event that unfolded early one morning last week. In this mining region, mine rescue is more than a theory, but a reality waiting to happen. Those that choose to be on these teams know that when they are needed they will have to enter into situations even more dangerous than their standard day to day risks during their employment in a coal mine.
For the many who volunteer their time to be part of their mine's rescue team, I applaud you. I also hope that most of you will never have to use your skills in an actual scenario. For every rescue there is a victim.
For our community, we are still reeling from last summer's flash flood tragedy that resulted in the deaths of two small children. We came together through that even as most of us didn't personally know the family.
We are here together again in support of each and every miner and their families that are involved. When hopes and prayers are all we have to offer right now, this community will exceed all that is expected.