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Coal Miners’ Memorial to have brick installation ceremony

| May 13, 2015

Coal Miners Dedication 20COSHOCTON – In October 2013, a coal miners’ memorial was erected on the Coshocton County Court Square featuring the names of former coal miners in the county who have passed away. On Saturday, May 30, residents and family members will have another chance to remember their loved ones in a special memorial tribute during the brick installation ceremony which will be held from 4 – 5 p.m. at the monument on the corner of Third and Chestnut streets.

“We have 49, soon to be 50 names of people who were killed in the mines in Coshocton County on the memorial,” said Sam Bennett. “People can buy the bricks in memory or in honor of a coal miner.”

Bricks come in two sizes, 4 x 8 and 8 x 8. The smaller bricks are $50 each and have three lines available with 15 characters for each line. The 8 x 8 size is $70 and features five lines with 15 characters per line. Currently, there have been approximately 250 bricks purchased in memory or in honor of a loved one. There are 150 spaces left on the walkway for personal bricks to be laid. After those are filled, they will start laying brick at the base of the monument.

Brick order forms will be available at the brick installation ceremony or online at coalminersmemorialfund.org. Bennett accepts cash or checks, which can be made out to Coal Miner Memorial Fund. The money raised will be put into the maintenance fund after the cost of bricks.

During the ceremony, those who have purchased bricks can lay the brick themselves if they chose. If not, the bricks will be laid in place by Bennett and his nephew, Ronnie Alan Brown.

“It’s a way to put a personal touch on the ceremony,” said Bennett. “They’re not only there at the ceremony, but they can put the brick in its place.”

They will sell key chains for $2, postcards for $0.50, and coffee mugs for $5. The first 25 people to arrive will receive a free key chain. The key chain features two pictures of the coal miners’ memorial and the coffee mugs are white with The Coal Miners’ Memorial and their web address in black lettering. Three sets of post cards will be available featuring the memorial at Christmas time with the pine trees lit, and the other two are black and white photos of the memorial.

Bennett’s father, Arthur Bennett Sr., was killed in a mining accident in 1971 when he was 44 years old. In 1976, Bennett followed his father’s footsteps and worked in the coal mining industry for five years. He always knew he wanted to erect a memorial to his father and to the other county residents who had lost their lives in the mining industry. Originally, he wanted a stone with facets of coal mining on the front and the names of deceased miners on the back. When he approached the Coshocton County Commissioners about the proposed memorial, they had a more extensive memorial in mind, which is what stands on the court square today.

The problem for Bennett then became how to fund the project. Total cost of the memorial was $65,000, and Bennett received a grant from the Montgomery Foundation for $25,000, a grant from Coshocton Foundation for $2,500, a $3,000 donation from Oxford Mining, and an additional $6,000 from two employees at Oxford Mining. Money also came in from the community, and Bennett partnered with the Towne Center Association to receive a 501 c(3) status so that all donations would be tax-deductible.

“I didn’t care if they gave me $1, $5, $20, $50, or more,” Bennett said. “I was just as excited to receive the money as I was with the Montgomery Foundation, because it’s all a sacrifice. I know times are hard, times are tough, and money is scarce right now. If you can’t give money, I understand.”

Once the money was raised, the work began on constructing the monument. The stone came from Vermont and was designed by Milligan Memorials. An employee at Milligan hand-etched the stone after Bennett approved the design. Mike Kobel of Kobel Landscaping drew the plan for the memorial site by hand and Novelty Advertising made a computerized drawing from Kobel’s idea to present to the commissioners. Novelty also manages the Coal Miners’ website. Bennett said he wanted to keep everything local as much as possible.

“I want to thank the community for rallying around this project a year and a half ago,” said Bennett. “If it wouldn’t have been for that, we wouldn’t have been able to raise the $65,000. Also, a big thank you to the Towne Center Association for making donations tax deductible.”

Bennett said he still receives comments from community members who constantly see people visiting the memorial, sketching names from the stone on paper, or just sitting and reflecting.

“I put God first in it and I feel like that’s why it’s become what it is today,” he said. “It’s been used by people and appreciated by people and it also might bring in some tourism.”

To learn more about the memorial, visit the website at coalminersmemorialfund.org.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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