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10166Naoma-based mine rescue team wins national competition in Ky.

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  • usmra
    Sep 22 5:01 AM
      Naoma-based mine rescue team wins national competition in Ky.

      Naoma-based mine rescue team wins national competition in Ky.

      Beckley Register-Herald

      September 22, 2015

      Testing their readiness for worst-case mining disasters scenarios, the 10-member of Alpha Natural Resources Southern West Virginia Team mine rescue group won a national competition in Kentucky last week.

      The 10 men, based out of Naoma, competed against a number of teams from as far away as New Mexico, Alabama and Wyoming.

      “Having been on the ground during a number of mine disasters and emergencies, I understand the importance of the skills competition that took place (last) week in Lexington,” said Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. “I know firsthand what it means to call upon our mine rescuers at a moment’s notice after a fire, explosion or roof collapse, to travel miles underground to find and rescue missing miners.”

      Bringing home the trophy took hours of training and defeating 65 other teams in written, first aid and skills tests to see how well they do in mine emergencies.

      This is the first time in the 104-year competition that ANR’s team has won the event, according to the competition’s website. Last week’s national competition is an biannual event, said Jessica Thomas, whose husband James is a member of the team. 

      The reigning champions include James Thomas, Mark Bolen, Scotty Kinder, Charles Brown, Mike Alexander, Dave Green, Grayson Cox, Adam Sipes, Brian Jarrell and trainer Jim Aurednik.

      Bolen said several members were a part of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and dedicate the victory to the 29 miners who lost their lost in the 2010 disaster.

      “It was to honor them,” Bolen said.

      The group trains a couple times weekly, usually at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, where there are simulation rooms to practice disaster scenarios.

      Past National Contest Winners:


      Complete 2015 National Coal Results:


      2015 Coal Contest Problems:



      U. S. Mine Rescue Association