PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - They say the war on coal has gone too far, and they are taking a stand.
"Sometimes we think Washington doesn't really respect the miners and what they do," said United for Coal Co-founder Jesse Salyer, Jr.
Organizers of United for Coal are creating an event to help raise awareness for the coal industry, and they are hoping to see hundreds of thousands participate.
"I think the numbers are about seven to one, being that for every dollar lost with coal there's about seven dollars lost out of the local economy," said Pikeville Director of Attractions Sean Cochran.
Miners across Appalachia are feeling the pinch.
"Eighteen years and in the blink of an eye I lost my job," said coal miner Robert Fuller.
But on October 13th organizers of United for Coal are asking people to line U.S. 23 and show support for the industry they say feeds the entire region.
"Our restaurants, gas stations, Walmart, all these places if coal stops they stop," said United for Coal Co-founder Allen Gibson.
Organizers say they hope to see 50,000 people within Pikeville and at least 200,000 people across the entire event.
"This is going to be the longest prayer chain ever known in the history of Kentucky, and we'd like to urge all the churches, especially the churches, because we need lots of prayer," said Gibson.
Prayer, they say, for people just trying to feed their families.
"Miners don't want a hand up. They don't want a hand out. They just want to go to work," said Salyer.
"If you ain't got supporters, you ain't got nothing. We've got more people trying to take away than what there are trying to put in," said Fuller.
They hope this event sheds a little more light on the issues at hand.
Anyone is welcome to join the prayer chain. The center will be in Pikeville and extend north and south along U.S. 23. It will also extend north along U.S. 119.
You can learn more about United for Coal and the upcoming event at www.unitedforcoal.com