Chao attends Mine
By: Bill Reid
Elaine L. Chao
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao became the first sitting Labor Secretary to attend a National Mine Rescue contest when she observed several of the forty participating teams in action at the 2003 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench & Preshift Contest held at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
Secretary Chao in an exclusive interview with Coal Leader said, “I am very impressed with the skill, the expertise, and the years of experience that these mine rescue teams display. They are faced with real life situations in these competitions and they have to perform under pressure and under some time considerations as well. What I am also so impressed with is the team spirit that really shines through. For these men who are part of the mine rescue team, they really are each other’s best buddies. They know each other and they anticipate what each others reactions are going to be. The closeness of the teams is obviously a very important factor in mine safety.”
At the Awards Banquet, Dave D. Lauriski, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health indicated that in nearly 100 years of mine rescue competitions, this was the first time a sitting Labor Secretary had attended a National Mine Rescue Contest. Coal Leader asked her what brought her to the event?
“I am so proud of the Mine Rescue Competition that MSHA sponsors every year. Dave Lauriski has provided outstanding leadership to MSHA and I wanted to be here to support him in his leadership role. Also, to thank the mine rescue teams who have done such an outstanding job in the last two years.”
Whether fighting a fire, responding to a roof fall or explosion, rescuing nine men trapped underground at the Quecreek Mine in Pennsylvania, or searching for missing hikers who wandered into an abandoned mine, mine rescue team members put their lives on the line to help others.
Secretary Chao added, “I think the mine rescue teams and the mining industry should be very proud of their role in maintaining a very good safety record in the last two years as well. I’ve been very impressed with the dedication, commitment, and effectiveness of the rescue teams in situations that we hope that we will never see in real life.”
Coal Leader took the opportunity of thanking Secretary Chao for her support of the mining industry and the mining community and wished her success. Secretary Chao spent a full half day at the Mine Rescue Contest, attended the Awards Banquet, had numerous photographs taken with participants and officials of the contest before taking the time to sit down with Coal Leader. cl
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