I grew up in a coal mining family. I was raised on Black Gold. My sister and I were able to go to college because of Black Gold.
My dad was a coal miner. He worked under ground when I was really little and worked his way up through the ranks. However, a few short years before retirement he also got laid off like so many others.
A few weeks ago I was driving home and got stopped by a coal train at Peytona which was a welcome delay in my commute home.
Coal trains and trucks use to be a common sight Boone County residents would see on a daily basis.
For a while the trains and trucks were few and far between. However, in the last three or four months I have noticed a few more than what has become our new normal.
When I was little I remember train after train going by on the tracks. I remember seeing these trains go by as I was on the playground in elementary school. That was many years ago.
I also remember standing on my front porch where I grew up waving at the trucks trying to get them to blow the air horn. As a kid I thought that was one of the coolest things.
Growing up I have seen booms in the coal industry and I have also seen slumps in the coal industry. However, this is the worst I have ever seen it.
These trains and trucks not only ship a product important to our economy, but they ship our way of life. Black Gold!
However, in recent years our way of life has been broken and severely damaged.
I have known many coal miners who have been laid off from their job wondering what the future holds for their family. I have seen our little community’s struggle trying to get by day to day.
Businesses have struggled. Our school systems have struggled. Our trash dumps have closed because the money is not there.
People have moved away from their homes in hopes to find work and a life in another place. You do not need me to go on to point out all the things our county and state struggle with on a daily basis.
Boone County is home. As far as I am concerned it will always be home. Black Gold may not be the way it used to be, but then again is anything the way it used to be? Unfortunately we have to adjust to the way life is now and not focus our efforts on the past.
I hope our future can still be Black Gold. However, if that is not in our future we as Boone County residents will overcome this hardship. We are strong people and we will persevere.
Heather Kinder is a reporter for the Coal Valley News. She can be contacted at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661, [email protected] or on Twitter @CVN_hkinder