Coal miner returns home after being injured at Taylor County coal mine


BOOTHSVILLE, W.Va. – A Taylor County coal miner is back home after being injured on the job at the Leer Mine Complex.

Joshua Rowell returned home late Monday morning to a parade through his neighborhood, where family and neighbors welcomed him. This included people lining up along Route 250.

Joshua spent two weeks in the hospital, only contacting his family on Facetime calls, and through glass because of COVID-19 restrictions. Monday April 27th, Joshua was finally able to hug his children for the first time since the accident.

The Taylor County sheriff escorted Amber and Joshua Rowell home, followed by the Boothsville Volunteer Fire Department. At home, the whole Hickey Hills neighborhood, some Grafton community members and coworkers of Rockwell’s were waiting to surprise him, holding signs and cheering for him as a warm welcome back home.

“I mean its been horrible on all of us, but aseptically him being there alone, physically was enough, mentally was the worst,” said Amber. “He was very upset thinking ‘my family’s not allowed to be around me.’ We’ll just go from here and help get him better.”

Rowell was injured when a rock fell on his legs, and he was told he would never walk again. However, his wife, Amber, said that Rowell is determined to go through his physical therapy and walk again someday.

“HealthSouth has been incredible to him. They asked him what he was made of, they wanted to know what he was made of. He said, ‘I can’t tell you,'” Amber said. “I mean, a big rock fell on him, and he’s lucky to be here.”

Rowell was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital initially, and then later was transferred to Encompass Health, formerly known as HealthSouth, for his rehabilitation. Amber said although it takes a lot out of him, Joshua was able to stand on his own two feet without support.

Amber kept the kids busy, as well as herself as each day passed, but that didn’t stop the tears from falling every single day. Monday morning, there were more tears shed, but this time it was to celebrate their family being allowed to be together again under one roof.

“I just thought I get to have my dad back home, and not have to look at him just through a window,” said Joshua’s youngest daughter Addison.

All of the Rowell children, Tyler, Lindsay, Beranna and Addison said they are glad to have their dad home so they can now work together to get back to a more normal life as one family.

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