Pictured: Vince Christiansen, one of the retired coal miners in attendance to the dedication, reverently places an evergreen bough on the monument.
Surrounded by mining equipment since deemed antique, the Helper Miners’ Memorial Satellite Monument was dedicated Thursday afternoon.
The satellite monument, currently one of four across Castle Country, was welcomed into the community with a dedication service that featured several individuals with ties to the coal community.
Helper City Mayor Ed Chavez welcomed those in attendance, after which the American Legion Post #3 presented the colors. Mekette Keele Hodges then sang the National Anthem.
Mike Dalpiaz, International Vice President for the UMWA, spoke afterwards. Dalpiaz thanked the members of the Miners Memorial Committee as they were awarded a token of gratitude for their work.
Dalpiaz continued to praise the work done in coal mines, speaking of the unifying power expressed in the lives of miners throughout their work.
“When you’re in there,” he said, “we all have the same coal dust on us.”
Dalpiaz finished his remarks with an invitation for miners present to place evergreen boughs on the monument as well as a chance for others involved with the memorial to place a rose on its base. Those present were also given pendants inscribed with a picture of St. Barbara and the call to “pray for us.”
Tony Basso, Thomas Williams and Pete Palacios also took time to speak about coal mining and its impact both on the community and on their individual lives.
Frank Markosek and Dennis Ardohain then spoke to those in attendance. The duo has been instrumental in starting the Miners’ Memorial initiative and seeing the many monuments erected throughout Carbon and Emery counties. Allen Hughes and Micah Iverson then offered prayers as the monument was blessed.
Chavez offered closing remarks as the public was then given a chance to view the monument and ponder on the truthfulness of Williams’ words, “It’s not about the mines, it’s about the people in the mines.”