Kentucky

Miners Honored With Last Dotiki Coal Train

Weeks after the shutdown of Dotiki Mine, the final train of coal has rolled through Providence.

As that happened, people took the time to honor the miners who worked there–and the miner Jeremy Elder–who died just one week ago in Madisonville.

“A lot of sadness. A lot of pride too. Jeremy was really proud of what he did. He always gave his work 110 percent,” remembered Jeremy’s wife Kristi Elder.

It was an important day for all who came out to witness town history, but especially important for the Elder family.

Those gathered to see the final train of Dotiki coal mourned the loss of mine, and remembered fallen miners.

Especially Jeremy Elder, who lost his life earlier this month in an accident underground.

“I was thinking about all the hard work that Jeremy did. All the miners that work so hard so that we can all do the things that we do,” said Jeremy’s mother Loretta Elder.

The Elder family says the community has rallied around them, and they showed it in their presence and prayers for the family at the gathering.

“It’s not overwhelming but it means a lot. Everybody has just lifted us up with a lot of love,” praised Kristi.

And for those who worked for decades at Dotiki, like retired miner William Hackney?

“Oh, lord I don’t have the time to tell you the memories.”

For them, seeing the last train of coal that they helped remove from the Kentucky earth hit hard.

“It’s gonna hurt this place here. A lot of people here worked there. Their fathers, their uncles, their dads and even their moms,” listed Hackney.

But for even the youngest gathered here, it was more than a community wake, but a chance to honor all that has been lost.

“He’s very strong and he was a good father. I’d say I love him. That’s he’s the best place in the world. And I’ll be up there someday to see him,” said Jeremy’s son Holden.

The final train marks an end to 52 years of Dotiki coal coming through Providence, and a new reality for the community.

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