Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Prayer Service at a TECO MTR Mine Site

October 4, 2002
Photos by Janet Fout

Some people of faith are bringing the heartbreaking issue of mountaintop removal to a Higher Power. In early October, they left West Virginia headed to a Teco mining company site situated directly above the town of McRoberts, KY, where they were met by KFTC member, Larry Easterling and his two year old son, Jacob. Larry, a former surface miner, expressed grave concern over the loss of water caused when blasting at MTR sites fractures the rock strata.

On this beautiful Fall day, led by Father That-son, the priest at Our Lady of the Hills Catholic church of Elkview, WV, the group ascended what remained of a mountain overlooking the town of McRoberts nestled in the valley below. Winnie Fox, born in Kentucky, opened the service by singing "Wayfaring Stranger," a haunting melody of one who longs for home. On this Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, Father That-son spoke of St. Francis's deep love of God and Creation-how the earth, like a mother, sustains all life and is our home. Regina Hendrix read Psalm 95, which declares that the mountaintops belong to God. As the wind blew steadily, like the Spirit moving across the land, other prayers and readings were offered to bless the land, the people and to pray for peace.

The community of McRoberts,KY, is situated directly below the Teco mine site. The road in the foreground leads to the MTR site.

Dust from the mining operation (center of photo) heads directly towards the community of McRoberts.

Participants in prayer service for the mountains, people and community. (Front row from the left) Mary Agnes Keener, Father That-son, Regina Hendrix and Winnie Fox. (Back row from the left) Larry Easterling (KFTC member), Jacob Easterling and Larry Gibson.

Why we all do the work--With tortured mountain in the background, Larry Easterling holds his two year old son, Jacob.


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