Why be a coal miner, I can only imagine.

In coal country there are few jobs, even for the ones with a good education. Most jobs are at
the hamburger joint or some other low wage job. The coal mines offer much better pay if you
can beat the odds. But for what a miner must do and risk his life the pay is not enough. The
retirement is not so good or not at all. People working for the State of Ky will get 80% of their
salary plus full medical benefits at retirement.Their not on Social Security. The Federal workers
will have good retirement benefits and they don't pay into social security. Not that they don't
deserve what they get, it's just that most of the time it's better than a coal miner's retirement.
Coal jobs now days are with several different companies over the work period of a miner.
Most of us are the suckers, we pay into Social Security and will get little or nothing when we
retire. A pharmacist in a drug store on average will make fifty dollars an hour , that's about two
times more than a miner and sometimes two and a half times more. The only risk they are
exposed to is sick people. Not that they don't deserve their pay, it's just more than a coal miner.
The miner must work in dirty muddy back breaking conditions and worry about the roof caving
in or an explosion or many other dangerous conditions.
I guess the reason a guy becomes a miner is he wants to better himself and provide a better
life for his family. He learns to block the worry feeling , he knows most of the risk.
He does it because it's the man thing to do, he's not lazy or sorry, he's like a mountain climber,
the mine is there, he tackles it knowing he may not get back home. It beats flipping hamburgers
and makes you feel more of a man, you just wear out faster. Coal miners stand on the same level
as a fighter pilot, a marine in Iraq , a fireman fighting a fire , police officer fighting crime , deep sea
diver , an astronaut , nascar driver , anything risky , just no GLORY. I can only imagine what it's
like for a woman coal miner, I'd say harder. In all it comes down to available choices, most of the
time there are few, so why not be a coal miner? It's a dirty job, someone has to do it.
I myself worked on the surface mines, a whole lot less risk.
I respect underground coal miners, their doing something I won't or can't do. I have to have
wide open space, where I can stand up and look at the clouds, see the sunshine every now
and then. So as how a real coal miner feels I can only imagine.
Help the coal miners they need it. Help their family.
Kent Sears 1-5-2006