Services for fallen miner
Funeral Services were held for Elam Jones the 29 year old miner that was killed in a roof collapse at the Rhino Mine on March 22.
The services were held in Huntington on March 27 at the Huntington Stake Center. Bishop Jeff Guymon conducted the services. The family prayer was given by Grandpa Robert Potts. Elam's sister Mindee Maki read the obituary.
Tributes were given by friends Jesse Jones, Brady Larsen and Ron Hale.
Jesse Jones said, "Elam was not a complicated man. With Elam, family always came first. He couldn't stop talking about his wife and kids. He loved snowmobiling. He loved the smell of two stroke oil and gas. He loved hunting and fishing. Elam was proud of being a coal miner and he loved it. I am proud to say I worked with him. He always had a big smile on his face. He had no fear. One time he went out to get a Christmas tree and got the truck stuck. He twisted the drive line and punched a hole in the tail gate with a jack and he came home without a tree. He was all smiling when he told me this story, I would have been upset about what I'd done to my truck. But, he wasn't. Last fall I had a deer tag and Elam was on vacation, but he called me and cut short his vacation so he could come back and help me get a deer. Everyone always thought Elam was 100 percent fearless, but one time we went to Vegas and we went to the Stratosphere. Elam bought two tickets. He wanted to go on the ride that swings out over the building. There's nothing normal about that ride. He tried to talk me into going with him. I told him I'd wait while he rode. Pretty soon Elam and Jacqie came walking back over and the ride hadn't moved. I asked him if he was scared and he kept saying, no, 'I'm not stupid'. But, he was scared. Elam was a hero, a superman."
Larsen spoke next saying he moved in next door to Elam when he was four years old. Elam was the best man at Brady's wedding and Brady was the best man at Elam's wedding. "Since I was an only child, Elam and I were like brothers. His family asked that I tell some stories about Elam and I and some of the things we did while growing up. Well, some of it's not appropriate for church and some he probably doesn't want his mom to know about. We spent a lot of nights, sleeping out on the tramp. One night we decided to toilet paper our own houses. We snuck in the house, took toilet paper and toilet papered our own houses. One night up to Grassy Reservoir we dared Elam to light a roll of toilet paper on fire and throw it down the toilet. He took all the blame for that. He was probably the only one who had a bumper sticker on his truck that said, 'snow makes me horny,' It was pretty funny, and it was even funnier when his mom drove that truck around town. One time we drove his truck across Huntington river. The water came up across the hood, but we made it. The truck didn't run too well when we got to the other side, but Elam was so excited he'd made it across. One of the times at Easter we were camped by Buckhorn Reservoir and the mud was thick. We dared him to take his motorcycle through it and he did and got it stuck. The mud was so thick his motorcycle was standing straight up. I always went hunting with Elam, one time he shot an elk and it took us until 2 in the morning to get it out. Elam used to say all the time, I almost died today and then he would tell a story about what happened. He ran his four-wheeler through a barbed wire fence one time, and he told everyone he'd been attacked by a mountain lion. He cut off the tips of two of his fingers with a table saw. Elam was the life of the party."
Hale said, he has known Elam for 25 years, his family and Elam's have gone on trips together. He watched Elam grow from a small child to a great young man. Hale shared memories his sons have of Elam. One time they were on vacation in Arizona and Elam and his son would dive into the fountain at the hotel and collect all the change and go buy snacks with the change. One time they put all the pool towels in the hot tub and clogged it up and the pool was out of service the rest of their stay there. Elam took them swimming, baling hay and talked one of his boys into sitting in the bucket of the tractor so he could bounce him out. All the ladies seemed to like Elam. Elam took them hunting up Nuck Woodward where he always seemed to get an elk. Elam was very proud of his fiance and future wife, Jacqie. "She made him happy. I had the privilege of going to the Manti Temple when they were sealed. Elam was a great hunter, he was always prepared. He went scouting and he was always willing to go out and help the other hunters. He was always riding the four-wheelers and liked to say, 'We was crusin.' Elam was the most daring kid we knew. Elam believed in God. No one expected such a great tragedy to end his life so early. I wish that you will feel the Savior's love. Let's celebrate Elam's life. To all the coal mining nation, may God bless you," said Hale.
Elam's mother Julie Jones thanked everyone for coming to the service. "I am grateful and honored to call each of you my family. You've told me a lot about my son in the last few days. I want to talk to get a few stories straight. I want to encourage you to write your stories down so they can be shared with Elam's two little boys. They need to hear the stories." Julie talked about some of the things Elam used to say all the time including: 'I'll decide, It will be alright, I'm gonna kick your butt, I've got a story for you, what the heck, and Mom, get over it.'
"Elam had a love for life. He lived every day as if it were his last, because he only had a short time to be here," said Julie. Elam had 12 stitches from a four-wheeler accident and then 72 stitches when he went through the barbed wire fence, and that's where the cougar story came in. Going through a barbed wire fence wasn't cool enough. Elam was in a couple of avalanches. During the mine rescue at Crandall Canyon, Elam worked tirelessly to help get those miners out. He loved coal mining and the brotherhood that exists. He tried auto mechanics but wanted to go back to the coal mine. He loved Rhino, it was his favorite mine. He loved the guys and they were his family. Coal mining is truly the heart beat of America. From the minute Elam was born, he and his dad were best friends. Elam loved his best friend. For 29 short years, they were best friends. Julie said at times she was jealous of their relationship and she wanted to be the best friend, but their family was so blessed that Elam and Derk were best friends. Elam pulled the pigs for his cousins, because his arms were the longest. He loved the string game each Easter at Grandma Justice's house, where each grandchild was given a string that was strung all over the yard and connected to an Easter basket for them. He loved his grandma's egg sandwiches. He loved his pheasants, his dog, his wife and his boys. His telephone message said gone snowmobiling even in the middle of July. Elam loved to ride snowmobiles. He often told those riding with him, to put down their purses and get up the hill. Elam asked Jacqie to marry him on their second date. Three years later they got their first son. The boys Kelsen and Dacyn share Elam's enthusiasm and love for life.
Julie had Kelsen tell about a picture he had drawn of his father's accident. Kelsen drew the rocks falling from the roof that came down upon his dad. He also drew beside his dad a picture of Jesus. He said Jesus was there that day to carry his dad back to heaven. "Jesus was a huge part of Elam's life. Elam loved the Lord, he knew the Lord, he had a huge testimony. He had a large heart and was loving, giving and non-judgmental. He believed that everyone deserves a chance. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. Elam knew how to love and be aware of those around him. I believe he knew his life would be short. I am so blessed the Savior entrusted Elam to us. I am thrilled to be his mom," said Julie.
The services concluded with Elam's burial at the Huntington City cemetery. There were a number of snowmobiles on site and a last tribute was given when the motors were started by Elam's friends and revved up to cause some two stroke oil and gas to be burned and some noise to be made as a last shout out for Elam.