COLUMBUS — This fall Ohio Citizen Action will present Larry Gibson and Chuck Nelson with the 2010 Enduring Courage Award at our 35th Anniversary Event in Columbus. This award is to recognize community activists who have exemplified unwavering courage in fighting for their communities.
Born in West Virginia, Larry Gibson moved to Cleveland as a child. After working for General Motors for 16 years, Gibson returned to his roots in West Virginia in 1985. Upon returning to his family’s land in Kayford, Gibson was faced with the hostile dismantling of Kayford Mountain by mountaintop removal coal mining.
Since then, Gibson has devoted his life to educating people about the atrocity that is mountaintop removal coal mining, and motivating them to speak out against it. He has hosted activists, politicians, and celebrities, such as Kathy Mattea and Robert Kennedy Jr., at his home on Kayford Mountain, so that they may see the destruction of mountaintop removal first hand. Since starting his work, Gibson has been joined by other activists and local and national organizations to stop mountaintop removal. Their efforts have slowed the permitting of mountaintop removal mining sites, and have gained the most public and political support for a ban on mountaintop removal ever. Larry is the founder of Keepers of the Mountains.
Raised in Sylvester, West Virginia, Chuck Nelson is a retired under ground coal miner who worked for Massey Energy. Nelson spent a year on the picket line as a union miner when Massey Energy refused to allow union miners to work. After being forced into retirement, Nelson has dedicated his life to stopping mountaintop removal coal mining.
Along with his friend Larry Gibson, Nelson has traveled around the country to educate people on the irreparable damage of mountaintop removal coal mining. Along with this work, Nelson has fought for the abolition of slurry injections and slurry impoundments-the process of injecting coal waste into old mine shafts or into dams, both of which contaminate drinking water supplies at put communities at risk for flooding.
— Kate Russell, organizer, Ohio Citizen Action