Serendipity — looking for a needle in the haystack and finding the farmer’s daughter. A coal miner from Pike County experienced a form of serendipity, not the farmer’s daughter but VIP tickets to a UK ball game.

Last weekend the University of Kentucky came to Pikeville and had their Blue and White scrimmage at the Appalachian Wireless Arena. The event was played in Pikeville because the team waned to raise money for flood victims.

The Cats came to Pikeville with all the fanfare possible. They had custom buses, rock-star treatment; media Q&A after the event and the team also met some of the fans.  It was a good event for the people of this region not only because we often feel isolated but also the event raised over $150 thousand. How and when the distribution of those funds will be has yet to be determined.

If you listen to mainstream media, they say that coal mining is bad and the horrible weather we have been is experiencing is due to global warming, which is directly related to coal mining.

Coal mining has powered this country for many years. There have been clean energy bills in Congress for decades. But it wasn’t until President Obama vowed to bankrupt coal-fired power plants that the demise of coal became inevitable. The more coal mining was examined by the mainstream media, the more scrutiny it received. The new Green Deal, part of the liberal agenda has basically made coal obsolete. And became very popular with the media.

The dramatic decline of mining has devastated this region from many aspects. It killed jobs it, in turn killed tax revenue from employees and coal severance, leaving municipalities short of funding. While the federal government killed an entire industry, they did nothing to help replace jobs and the media sat idly by.

During the Blue and White game, a local man a coal miner, Michael McGuire worked the whole day in the mines and showed up for the game, still in gear required for mining with coal dust covering his entire body. He came straight from the coal mine so he would not miss any of the game with his young son.

A photo was taken and went viral. In other places, this would have stirred negative controversy.  Luckily Coach Cal saw the photo and reached out to McGuire. He praised him for being hard working and his dedication to his family, his roots and to UK basketball. Cal offered this man VIP passes to the game of his choice at Rupp Arena.

There was a bit of irony on behalf of the national mainstream media .The national mainstream media caught wind of Coach Cal’s offer to the coal miner and praised the coach and the coal miner for his dedication to his family and his hard work ethic. I hope that sentiment from the media is remembered when they bash the coal industry for the next natural disaster or tout the New Green Deal. If they only had a clue as to how the country will run on electricity.

So hats off to McGuire for shedding a positive light on this region and the coal mining industry. And hats off to Coach Cal for offering a life changing opportunity for the McGuire family. Serendipity at its best, this miner struck gold.

 Thanks for reading the Floyd Chronicle and Times.

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