FAIRMONT W.Va. – Both past and present miners came together in Palatine Park to continue to spread their rich history, as the Coal Heritage Festival 2019 kicked off.
With West Virginia as a whole being known for its remarkable coal mining history. Mike Rohaly, director of Nothern Appalachian Coal Mining Association said the mission behind starting the Coal Heritage Festival last year was to keep the history alive.
“Fairmont and Marion County is steep in coal mining history and heritage and over the years it has sort of kind of fallen by the wayside a little bit, we still have a lot of active coal mines and coal miners” said Rohaly.
The festival brought past and current miners near and far to Palatine like John Konat, who started in the mining workforce in 1979, coming all the way from Pittsburgh to share his collection.
“It’s nice to collect a few things or have a few things to remind you of the olden days of what happened in which transpired back in the olden days, from Mingo County to Allegheny County in Pittsburgh. From the mines all along the Mon River and I’ve worked at a mine down by the Mon river and it’s ironic right here by the Mon River,” said Konat.
With both tragic as well as profound history like the start of Father’s Day coming from Fairmont, Rohaly said he hopes the knowledge of mining history continues, so that people may be thankful for the sacrifices that were made.
“Give them a closer look at some of the work that their relatives and ancestors did and really the sacrifice that they made, that’s what we are like for them to take away from this. We hope this grows every year.” said Rohaly.