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Miners remembered

Sign dedicated in memory of Porter Tunnel miners

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

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Rebecca Zemencik/Citizen-Standard Photo Cathy Leitzel and Beth Harman, daughters of Dennis Lee Morgan, take a moment before the sign to honor and memorialize the lives of nine miners who were killed in the Porter Tunnel Mine disaster, was dedicated Saturday, to remember and reflect on their dad. Dennis was 30-years-old when the disaster occurred March 1, 1977. He was not recovered from the mine until March 28.

PORTER TWP. – As she was watching the 2016 presidential candidates make their plea and speak of what they stood for, Beth Harman, of Valley View, was angered that some didn’t think anything about the coal industry. It was at that point that she knew now was the time to open old wounds and honor the memory of nine men who lost their lives in the Porter Tunnel mine disaster of 1977.
“When I heard that some of the candidates didn’t support the coal industry, it angered me,” said Harman. “Coal is our heritage and I have family members who gave their life while mining coal. My sons, Jeffrey and Nicholas never had the opportunity to meet their grandfather Morgan and I wanted them to know that coal was an important part of their heritage.”
“I knew we were coming up on the 40th anniversary and I felt that something should be done. I wasn’t emotionally ready to open up old wounds and I think that’s why nothing was done in the past. Who wants to remember something horrible that had happened? But I want future generations to remember what happened and to remember how dangerous coal mining was back then.”

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