FAYETTEVILLE - Friends and family of a coal miner killed on the job earlier this week gathered at a Fayetteville funeral home to pay their respects Sunday.
John Myles, 44, became another life lost too soon. The father of six was killed shoveling ribs Tuesday at Pocahontas Coal Company's Affinity Mine.
"He's just a delightful person to be around," said neighbor Freda Adkins. "Lot of fun. Liked to laugh. Just a good fella all the way around."
Jerry Brooks, the funeral's minister, was also a friend of Myles'. He married the coal miner in July 2012 in the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.
"The most humble man that I had ever met in my life," Brooks said. "Really quiet and kind of reserved. You got to know him, and he would open up a little to you."
Myles' funeral was held at the Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home. His passing is the fourth reported mining death this year alone and the second death at the Affinity Mine in Sophia.
"It's a very big concern," Adkins said. "We need this for our economy, but still we don't want to leave people in the process of doing this."
On Feb. 7, 43-year-old Bluefield resident Edward L. Finney was killed pushing a scoop bucket at the same mine. The trend is causing people to question mine safety once again.
Earlier this week Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall met with retired miners to talk about their concerns. Several said they have no way to afford treatment for injuries sustained on the job since the potential bankruptcy of Patriot Coal.
"If you took a job and worked for a coal company, and they said in exchange for your work, they would also give you healthcare and they would give you pension, then they have to live by that, and they can't just walk away from it," Rockefeller told WOAY.
Rockefeller, who recently announced his retirement, said he plans to introduce the Coalfield Accountability and Retired Employee Act.