Family members, friends and co-workers gathered together Friday to remember the 27 miners who tragically lost their lives in the Wilberg mine disaster 30 years ago on Dec. 19, 1984.
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) District 22 hosted a remembrance memorial service on Friday at the Wilberg Monument located west of Orangeville on Highway 29. In attendance was UMWA District 22 International President Cecil Roberts, International Vice President Mike Dalpiaz, Assistant Secretary of Labor Joe Main and the entire executive staff.
“As we have said, we will never forget our fallen,” Mike Dalpiaz said at the opening of the service.
A family member of one of the miners then presented a poem titled “We Remember Them,” which was followed by a candle presentation.
Candles were lit and, as each name of the 27 fallen miners was read, family members took a candle, placed it on a plate at the end of the table and remembered their loved one as they blew the candle out.
The ceremony ended with a special tribute with evergreens.
“After placing the evergreens on the monument as a token of our respect, the greens themselves of the evergreens will last forever that the memory shall be with us always,” Dalpiaz said. “To the family and friends of our deceased brothers and sister we send our heartfelt sympathy in this their sad hour of affliction and bid them to look to God for His tender mercy, for He alone can give them consolation. And now, our fellow workers, we bid thee a tender and loving farewell.”
The 27 miners who lost their lives include: Phillip Bell, Bert Bennett, James Bertuzzi, David Bocook, Ricci Camberlango, Curtis Cartier, Robert Christensen, Vic Cingolani, Gordon Conover, Randy Curry, Owen Curtis, Roger Ellis, James Hamlin, Leroy Hersh, Brian Howard, Barry Jacobs, Cary Jennings, Lee Johansen, Joel Nevitt, Alex Poulos, Kelly Riddle, Lynn Robinson, Ray Snow, John Waldoch, Lester Walls, Jr., Nanette Wheeler and John Wilsey.