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Families choose monument to memorialize miners


Karen Templeton started on a sculpture of rescuer Dale Black. The image will be similar to the one on the monument and will be finished in bronze.

The families of the Crandall Canyon miners met again with artists for a final presentation of monument ideas. Michael Mower from the governor's office welcomed everyone to the meeting. He said it is their wish the families reach a decision by consensus, but they may use voting if they need to with each family receiving one vote. The goal on this day was to determine an artist and a concept of what the monument would look like.

Mayor Hilary Gordon said a donor had made gift baskets for each of the families and left them at the Huntington City Hall. She asked each of the families to take one home. "Love and prayers continue for the families," said Mayor Gordon.

Mower said they have focused on the artists that contacted them about the memorial.

Mower introduced Sheila Phillips who lost her son Brandon in the initial cave-in. She presented an idea for the monument up the canyon. Six stones where the families of each miner still trapped in the mine can put on whatever they choose. Three benches would have the names of the rescuers who died. A site will be determined for this monument.

"The cement for this project has already been donated as well as the form work. The stones are three feet high and four feet wide," said Phillips.

Mower said Gary Arrington is setting up an account at Desertview Federal Credit Union to keep all the funds for the monument in one place. There will be a presentation of the donor check sometime in January.

Four artists presented their ideas again for the monument. Karen Templeton, Gary Prazen, Elise Lazar and Eldon Holmes showed their artwork and ideas.

Mower and the families excused themselves to speak in private about the artists and their ideas and to make a decision.

Karen Templeton shows her drawing of Heroes Among Us which is the monument prototype.

Mower said upon reconvening, "This was not an easy decision all of the artists have put a lot of time, effort and dedication into their concepts. The families want everyone to know they are donating $15,000 to go toward the monument up the canyon. The monument will be here long after all of us are gone. They have decided to split up the projects. The project up the canyon will be spearheaded by Sheila Phillips and we will go with her design. Nelda Erickson and Sheriff LaMar Guymon will be on this subcommittee.

"The project in Huntington will be completed by Karen Templeton. Her Heroes Among Us design has been chosen along with the encouragement to work with some of the other artists on this project," said Mower.

The project in town will have Colleen Byrge, Gary Arrington, Julie Jones and Wendy Black on the committee. Finalization of wording, design and price will be completed in the near future.

"Thanks to all of the artists. This will be a beautiful and lasting tribute. After the funds are secured we will begin working with Karen to purchase materials," said Mower.

Representatives from UtahAmerican Energy were also present at the meeting. They said they will work with Sheila on a suitable site on the mine road for the monument in the canyon.

Phillips said each family will be able to put whatever writing they would like on their monument. They want the monuments to be the same, but different. They also want a picture of the fallen miners on their stone.

An estimated date for the monument in Huntington to be completed will be on the one year anniversary of the Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster which will be on Aug. 6, 2008. At which time a dedication ceremony will take place.

Templeton is a portrait sculptor. Her idea was a large monument with a concrete base and a bronze panel. Along the bronze panel would be portrait sculptures of each of the miners.

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