John Young, former U.S. Steel Corp. general superintendent at Lynch, will be the guest speaker at the ceremony, which will begin with a reception at the Lynch L&N Train Station at 1 p.m. The appreciation day program will follow at 2 p.m.
Young, who now resides in Uniontown, Pa., served as general superintendent of the Lynch district from 1972 to 1980. He first came to Lynch in 1960 as chief engineer for U.S. Steel Corp., but left in 1970 to take a general superintendent position with the company in Dragerton, Utah.
Young, whose son resides in Lynch, said he has returned to Harlan County a number of times throughout the years to visit. He will be joined by several of his family members at today's ceremony, which will be his first.
“I think it's something that needs to be done to keep the memory of these people alive. The industry in Harlan County is on its last legs, but there are families still here. I think it's good that people can still be honored for the services they've put in over the years,” Young said.
Phyllis Sizemore, assistant curator of the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in Benham, said local singers, including the Tri-City Volunteers and former Tri-City resident Dorothy Fountain Myles, will provide music at today's ceremony. An exciting feature, she said, that will conclude the day's agenda will be the naming of the 2006 Lynch Walk of Fame inductees, to be announced by Mayor Tom Vicini.
Sizemore, a member of the Coal Miners' Appreciation Day committee, comprised of locals throughout Cumberland, Benham and Lynch, said the Tri-City community has shown tremendous support for the program during its 11 years.
“Coal mining is what the Tri-Cities are based on. Benham and Lynch are products of coal companies and descendants of coal miners,” she said. “People want an opportunity to honor the memories of men who've worked in the mines, and to celebrate their fun childhoods of growing up in coal camps.”
Sizemore said food for today's reception was prepared by the Tri-City Woman's Club.
The Coal Miners' Appreciation Day committee will also host a Songs of Coal benefit concert this evening at 6 at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland. Admission is $5, with proceeds to go to a scholarship fund for wives and children of coal miners.