His family describes him as a loving and caring man, now he's the first miner to be killed at a Kentucky mine this year. It happened Monday at a Pike County mine when a piece of machinery at a surface mine overturned on top of 48 year old Charles Griffith of Pikeville.
Loving was a word used quite frequently when family spoke of Charles "Chuck" Griffith, a man they said was fun-loving, loved his family and all those around him, and especially, loved his job.
For many mine safety advocates, Monday was a day to be celebrated, after the Kentucky state Senate unanimously passed new legislation protecting miners' safety. Unfortunately, for many in mining community, Monday was the same day Charles Griffith of Pikeville was killed while working at the Double E Augering Mine Number Two in the Steele area of Pike County.
"The machinery overturned the operator cab in which he was working, collapsed, and he was fatally injured," said Chuck Wolfe of the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.
"If there was a hard job, difficulty maneuvering around, he was always the man they called. Always the one doing it," said Michael Haney.
Family members say Griffith had been working around coal and machinery all his life.
"He was just someone who loved life, just getting out and doing stuff and he loved work. Unfortunately he died, but he died doing something he enjoyed doing every day," Haney said.
A call to the controller of the Double "E" Augering Mine where Griffith died was not returned. Meanwhile, visitation for Charles "Chuck" Griffith will be held Wednesday at 6pm at J.W. Call and Son Funeral Home in Pikeville with the funeral set for 1pm on Thursday.
Griffith's is the fourth mining death in the country in 2007. Last year 47 died at mines nationwide and 16 died in Kentucky alone.