Citizen's Spotlight: Daniel DeNoon - Retired Coal Miner

Name: Daniel DeNoon

Age: 66 years old

Married? Pamela DeNoon Marries 49 years on September 4th

Profession? Retired Coal Miner

How many years in the mines? Retired in 2001 with a disability after 22 years in the mines

What was the most difficult part of being a coal miner? The environment and mandatory long hours.

Did you work for Patriot Coal? If not, where? I worked for AEP & Peabody, but NOT PATRIOT.

What were you supposed to receive when you retired? Pension and health insurance for my wife and me.

What has been happening with your retirement?  Patriot was formed to fail in a sense that when Peabody formed Patriot in 2007, they gave it 43% of their liabilities but only 11% of their assets.  Patriot then declared bankruptcy in 2012 and asked permission from the court to be allowed to eliminate retiree health care and its current contract with the miners. 

Who is trying to help you?  The UMWA with the support of other unions are fighting for our pensions and health insurance benefits. They are holding rallies and trying to get a care bill passed on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. I have been active in both areas from abandon mine reclamation Fund, and Excess.

Is this taking its toll on you? It is make me feel depressed.  We were hoping Senator Rockefeller’s bill would pass and it would help us all until our death… BUT I WILL REMAIN STRONG!

What advice would you give our readers? Keep your head high- with respect for yourself and others & trust in God.

Is there anything you would like to add? Our senators & congress people need to step it up and help out. NOT JUST TALK, but with action OUR PEOPLE NEED THE HELP! I want to leave my grandkids a future!

Update: August 16th the UMWA and Patriot Coal came to an agreement regarding the benefit package the miners would have from this point forward.The settlement has not solved the problem but it helped buy time before a more permanent solution is determined.