The Times West Virginian

September 25, 2013

Meeting to focus on coal mining heritage

NACMHA hosting event today so residents can learn more about what group has to offer

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The Northern Appalachian Coal Mining Heritage Association (NACMHA) will be holding a public meeting today.

Mike Rohaly, president of NACMHA, said the organization is inviting the public to its meeting so residents can find out more about coal mining heritage.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church.

“We want the public to come to the meeting to see what our group has to offer,” Rohaly said.

Rohaly said NACMHA will discuss several things the nonprofit is doing to educate residents on coal mining heritage.

“NACMHA has been around since 2000 and although we were slow out of the gate, we’ve done a lot and hope to do a lot more,” he said.

For the NACMHA, educating the public about coal mining heritage will be done at several places including Fairmont State University.

Rohaly said the organization is leasing a traveling exhibit called “Black Diamonds: A History of Southern West Virginia Coal” and will display the exhibit at FSU this fall. The display allows visitors to physically feel what it was like to work in a coal mine with interactive activities.

“It’s in conjunction with the art department’s presentation of ‘Rocket Boys,’” he said.

One of the bigger events NACMHA has going on is a swap meet on Dec. 6 at the Knights of Columbus in Fairmont.

Rohaly said Dec. 6 is National Miners Day and Miner’s Appreciation Day. It is also the 106th anniversary of the Monongah Mine Disaster.

“The swap meet is where people can buy, sell, trade or just find out about their coal miner paraphernalia treasures, like safety lanterns or carbide lamps,” he said.

Rohaly said he hopes NACMHA will grow, especially in northern West Virginia.

“Coal heritage is a part of this area’s history,” he said. “There’s a lot people can learn about this area’s coal heritage.”

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.