Churches support miner's families

BY RACHEL CLARK | QUECREEK, PA | July 28, 2002



"They're living totally in hope."

—Rev. Glenn E. Sadler


As families waited for word about miners trapped far below the surface, they sought spiritual solace.

The Rev. Glenn E. Sadler spent Saturday counseling two families from his church who have loved ones trapped in the mine.

Even before word came from the mine late Saturday night that all nine men were safe, he said the families were "living totally in hope."

In addition to activating prayer circles, the United Church of Christ in Somerset, where Sadler pastors, is providing food, counseling and running errands for family members.

"We're trying to support them in the best way possible," he said.

Sadler said the town was hit pretty hard last year by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"This just brought all of that back in a very real way," he said.

Jim Weiland, who has been a miner since 1976, spent much of the time during the rescue explaining the more technical aspects of the rescues to the families.

"The danger is on your mind everyday you go into the pit," he said.

Family members were the first to be notified that rescuers had found the miners alive. "Those families need support, and we're going to give it to them," said Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker.

From the time the miners were trapped through early Sunday morning, other miners and rescue teams worked around the clock. "They have a lot of faith and pray a lot," said one observer. "They consider themselves like brothers, like family."

Miner Doug Cuter considers himself one of the lucky ones. The 45-year-old Berlin resident was one of nine miners who made it out of the mine before the collapse.

"I'm an emotional guy but I have a good spouse who listens and supports me," he said. " I have faith in the Lord, for He is good, and you gotta have faith in this kind of work."

Other relief groups, including the American Red Cross and Salvation Army have provided care to the rescue workers and family members.


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