November 23, 2013
“Coal keeps the lights on” is a phrase that you probably have heard proudly proclaimed at a Harlan County athletic event by public address announcer Rainbo Johnson. If not, surely you’ve heard Bell County’s Jimmy Rose’s signature song with that title which helped propel him to the finals of America’s Got Talent.
Now, local non-profit group Harlan 20/20 has taken the “Coal Keeps the Lights On” to another level with a unique cause — to help pay electric bills for laid off coal miners.
Utilizing those words that mean so much in the troubled Appalachian coalfields, the organization is selling scented candles with all proceeds going to help those who have worked in the coal industry and now are unemployed. Rose himself has joined the cause, sharing on his Facebook page to thousands of his followers about the candle project.
Harlan County’s unemployment rate leads the state’s 120 counties in unemployment so this effort is surely welcomed and needed. Compounding the plight of our miners is that many of them have continued to look for work with no success. Now, many have seen their unemployment insurance benefits run out or about to run out soon.
Harlan 20/20’s effort is one that all of us who are working need to get behind and help support for this worthy cause. We truly are blessed to be working as the trickle-down effect is hitting the support industries and businesses too.
It is going to be a difficult Christmas for many in our county. We can only hope that the efforts of groups like Harlan 2020 and the assistance they will provide will help make the holiday a little merrier for many by lifting even the slightest of a financial burden being felt by so many miners.
We sure hope you can buy a candle and help keep the flame burning to support our family and neighbors.