HAZARD – A local business is preparing for a large turnout this weekend for an event designed to show their appreciation for the area’s coal miners.
Jabo’s State of Mine, a restaurant in the Hazard Village, will be feeding for free any coal miner, currently employed or not, who can produce a valid miner’s card between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 14.
Greg Englehart is the director of operations at Jabo’s, and said with the recent layoffs in the local coal industry, the idea behind offering meals free of charge was simply a way to say thanks to workers that he called the driving force in Eastern Kentucky.
“We want to just have a day that we can show the miners we appreciate them, laid off or not,” he said.
Several local businesses and organizations have also been pegged to participate, noted owner Jabo Clemons, including LKLP, a local non-profit that he said will set up a tent and provide information about services they offer to help those miners who may have been laid off during the recent round of workforce reductions.
Englehart said that about 25 local businesses will also be helping in some way, by offering free gift cards and prizes. There will also be live music, as well as facing painting and snow cones for children.
“Anybody we’ve asked so far, nobody’s turned us down (for help),” added Clemons.
Since December 2011, some estimates place the number of miners affected by coal industry layoffs in Eastern Kentucky at between 1,500 and 2,000.