Coal Miners Christmas
Christmas Party Held for Striking Miners and Families
|Santa tries to go incognito but these youngsters seem to recognize him anyway.|
Striking Co-op miners who might otherwise have had a bleak Christmas were treated to a party recently. The retired miners of East Carbon and the union members of UMWA 1759 at Deer Creek mine along with union locals of PACE and the AFL-CIO in Salt Lake City contributed to presents for all of the children of striking miners. Many local people, firefighters and the United Way also sent toys to the effort. The Trading Post in East Carbon also contributed gifts. The party was held at the Mission San Rafael Catholic Church just south of Huntington.
Twenty-five familes and approximately 50 children benefitted from the kindness of others. Ana Marie Sanchez, one of the striking miners was instrumental in bringing the party together. Sanchez and interpreter Bill Estrada addressed those gathered for the party, Sanchez told everyone who had contributed to the party and the crowd expressed their appreciation with shouts and loud clapping.
Lou Shelley, president of local 1759 from Deer Creek Mine addressed the audience. Shelley said, "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas, I am happy to be here. We have worked hard to support the Co-op miners and we hope all of the children enjoy the holiday....it's their holiday."
Shelley presented Sanchez with a check for $1,000 contributed by the Deer Creek miners. Tain Curtis, safety committee chairman for Deer Creek said, "It was good to see those miners at Deer Creek throw in a hundred dollar bill without knowing who it was going to. We had six-seven families we bought gifts for."
The children gathered outside at the beginning of the party with the traditional breaking of the pinata. The wives of the striking miners prepared a tamale lunch for the party goers and the UMWA contributed cakes.
Of course, no Christmas party can be complete without the appearance of Santa and this party was no different. Santa arrived and helped give out the sacks of presents to the families. The families were called up one at a time and the children sat on Santa's lap and when they were done they were also given large sacks of candy to take home.