POINT PLEASANT — “We work in the dark, so you can live in the light.”
This saying is very common among one particular groups of people — coal miners. While some may find this phrase to be somewhat humorous and witty, the everyday, and sometimes unthought-of, use of electricity depends on the dedication of these individuals.
Boyd Hodge, a retired coal miner of Point Pleasant, originally of Frazier’s Bottom, recently decided to do something to honor this particular group of people. Hodge has been working for 18 months and 16 days with Henry Repeating Arms Company and has designed a new .22LR — the Henry Golden Boy Special Edition Coal Miner Tribute.
A special event to honor the launch of the firearm has been set for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 17 at Tri County Sports Shop. According to owner John Burris, this new firearm will not be available for purchase until that date, and it will be introduced exclusively at Tri County Sports Shop.
One particular reason Hodge wanted to honor coal miners is because he feels that the only other time this group of individuals are discussed is, unfortunately, if there is some kind of tragedy, such as a mine collapse or explosion. He also reported on his interest in guns. He said that when he was five years old, he would tag along with his father and brother, since he was too young for a gun. He said he received his first gun when he was eight. He combined his love for guns and the desire to honor coal miners, and the end product is a new rifle.
Hodge said when he first had the idea for the gun, he contacted Henry Repeating Arms and was turned down twice. Hodge said he did some research and came up with his own version of the gun. The company also had its own version of the gun, and Hodge said they had to agree to disagree. But then, the person from the company Hodge had dealt with caught a television program entitled “COAL” one night. After seeing the show, which follows coal miners and reportedly covers every aspect of the occupation, Hodge was contacted again and was told his gun concept would be made a reality.
According to Hodge, it takes a special breed of people to be coal miners — not only the coal miners themselves, but their families also have to be very supportive, as well, since there is always a chance their families may never see them again, because of the dangers below.
“It’s a brotherhood,” Hodge’s wife, Linda, said.
Hodge added that while some miners might argue outside the mine, once they go down into it, no one would be left behind should something unexpected happen.
Another personal touch Hodge added to the gun was his coal miner’s prayer. He added that he said this prayer every time before he went into the portal, which is the entrance to the mine. It is engraved on the stock of the rifle, and it reads:
Lord, as I enter this portal of man-made darkness, keep me safe from the dangers below, and bring me back to the light of day. In this, oh Lord, I pray, and if the worst should happen, let my friends and loved ones know that I did not suffer on this … my final day.
Hodge will be at Tri County Sports Shop on Saturday and will be signing certificates of authenticity for the first 100 guns. There will also be refreshments and door prizes.
It was also reported that John Raese is planning to attend the event and plans to purchase one of the new rifles. Raese will reportedly take the rifle with him on his campaign, as a tribute to coal miners, as well as for support for the second amendment.
“This is a tribute to coal miners all over the world,” Hodge said.