The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation said this week it had made an agreement with the Windber Coal Heritage Center that will consolidate the photos, personal belongings, equipment and other items related to the rescue at the Somerset County visitors center located where the nine workers were pulled from about 300 feet underground.
Among the memories being brought to the visitor center: a commemoration of Quecreek’s rescue personnel; biographies of the 18 miners underground when the breach occurred (nine managed to escape unharmed); a “tribute wall” with related items and a collage of media coverage; the drill bit that broke through to the trapped miners; a sample of the water that inundated the mine; and other artifacts including a replica of the rescue capsule used in the television movie based on the rescue.
“Bringing together equipment and other artifacts from the Quecreek mine rescue in one place will further enhance our ability to educate the public about this incredible event," foundation executive director William Arnold said, adding it worked with other partners on the project including state congressman Mark Critz, who suggested the idea, as well as Rosebud Mining and the Windber Coal Heritage Center.
Critz, who served as a volunteer in 2002 to rescue the workers after more than 70 hours trapped in the water-inundated mine, said he fully understood the importance of rescue site and the foundation’s mission.
“This is where these artifacts belong," he said.
“I had the opportunity to talk with John Garcia of Rosebud Mining at the tenth anniversary celebration of the rescue in July, and I'm very pleased things have worked out."
Arnold also thanked Rosebud for its vital assistance in the consolidation, as the two exhibits had previously been about 36 miles apart.
"Cliff Forrest, Rosebud founder and president, has always been active in supporting the communities in western Pennsylvania,” he said.
“We are amazed at his generosity in donating these exhibits to the foundation.”
The Foundation confirmed that the building, which was still undergoing some changes at the July anniversary celebration, was nearly complete and its staff was beginning to develop the center’s exhibits.