My father was a coal miner.
Throughout the years I could remember, we could not get a U.S. postage stamp for coal miners, and there were about 100,000 coal miners who died working the mines.
And then Mother Teresa got her stamp. I am familiar with Mother Teresa. She was not a citizen and gave her Nobel money to India. But she got a stamp, not the coal miners.
It took three years for the coal miner stamps to be issued. I used Mother Teresa as a catalyst. There were five major stamp sets issued, 12 stamps in each set for a total of 60 stamps.
I made some donations to Eckley Village, where coal miners lived. By chance I asked them if they had the stamps, and they did not. Really?
So I made the donation because I thought, this was the first. I said this is for the Industrial Revolution. The coal miners made coke, and iron workers made rivets which helped to build the Empire State Building. Coal helped to expand railroads. Women worked without recognition — this is part of our revolution — we are coal!
Today the stamps have been discontinued. I believe these stamps need to be resurrected and sold in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We are coal.
Mother Teresa would not want a stamp for herself. She would have wanted it for the coal miners, and I hope she supports this effort.
As I got my doctorate, my father asked me to come home. I did.
He died of black lung.
Bob Washick, Ed.D.LD