Fallen Coal Miner Is Laid To Rest

By: Kimberly Burcham Email
By: Kimberly Burcham Email

An eastern Kentucky coal miner dies from injuries he received at a Bell County coal mine earlier this month.

This is the first underground mine death in more than a year and a half in Kentucky.

WYMT's Kimberly Burcham spoke with family and friends today as they remembered 45-year-old Joseph Roberts.

Brad Pennington says all they can do now is think about memories of his father-in-law Joseph Roberts.

“He loved to ride four wheelers, talk and cut up. It just won't ever be the same,” Brad Pennington said, Roberts son-in-law.

Roberts lived in Stinnett in Leslie County, but worked at Butcher Branch Coal Mine in the Beverly community of Bell County.

“Me and him used to ride to work together and as soon as he would get in the vehicle, he'd have a smile on his face,” Marshall Sizemore said.

A smile co-workers say he carried into the mines with him.

“He could just walk into a room and everything would change. I mean he just brought laughter and joy. There was no dullness about him,” Russell Collett said.

Officials with the Mine Safety and Health Administration say Roberts was riding a scoop on July 17th when he was seriously injured.

He died July 25th during emergency surgery.

“It was sad to find out what happened to him and really sad to find out that he died and went on to meet the Lord,” Collett said.

“I sure loved him. If you was down, he was there. You couldn't ask for no more,” Pennington said.

Pennington is offering his advice to people with loved ones who work in the coal mines.

Roberts' employer did not want to go on camera but says they've lost a good friend and a good worker.

Joseph Roberts was buried at Stinnett Pentecostal church in Leslie County.

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