Jesse Clayton, of Logan, said, "It's hard to stay positive when the economy is hurting and you know the President isn't on your side and the EPA is shutting you down. We work hard and we feel like our livelyhoods are in jeopardy. Finding that chunk of coal kinda gives me hope that someone is on our side. God put coal on this planet for a reason and he put that chunk of coal here for a reason, as well. Obama may not believe in coal, but it's clear God and John Henry does!"
John Henry is one of America's most famous tall tales and and in particular West Virginia's very own Folk Hero. Henry is claimed to have raced the steam hammer during the construction of Big Bend tunnel near Talcott, West Virginia between 1869 and 1871. Talcott holds a yearly festival named for Henry and a statue and memorial plaque have been placed along a highway south of Talcott as it crosses over the Big Bend tunnel. [WIKI]
The John Henry-shaped coal has become a symbol of coals importance in West Virginia. Senator Manchin said, "The coal shows that we may be struggling but that someone has not forgotten us. In fact, the John Henry-shaped coal is one of the things that spoke to me and convinced me to fight against Democrat anti-coal policies. You could say that piece of coal helped fuel my decsion to switch parties."
Congressman Nick Joe Rahall, who represents Southern West Virginia, refused to comment on the oddly shaped piece of coal. Instead, his office released this statement, "I appreciate the plight of miners, but the EPA has to do it's job. We shouldn't put our hope in rocks or tall tales. Obama is our Hope and Change - trust in him. Besides, the Tea Party is the real problem, not the economy."
The TreeRoot Mining Company has asked for its name and Logan location to remain undisclosed - not wanting it's operations to become overrun with tourists. The Republican Party of West Virginia is asking to feature the coal at it's rallies this election year.
The Charleston Daily Mail has a nice piece on the story here: [LINK].
This is a correction of an earlier piece claiming the piece of coal looked like Jesus. Upon further reflection and much internet chatter - it was determined to actually be the image of John Henry.