Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Central Mine Rescue donates to family of fallen miner

| November 21, 2023 1:06 AM

BIG CREEK –– To celebrate its centennial anniversary, Central Mine Rescue is honoring the memory of a local miner, Blaik Nutting, who died in a mining accident earlier this year. 

In collaboration with Sunshine Mine staff and several local businesses, CMR has successfully raised a substantial sum over a five-month period to support Nutting's family. While much of the funds were collected through various donations and fundraisers, the bulk of the proceeds came from the sale of commemorative silver coins. 

CMR Director Danny Peterson explained that for the last 15 years, the nonprofit organization has held a fundraiser around the time of their anniversary and donated the proceeds to someone in need. 

In March of this year, Peterson worked with Sunshine Mine General Manager Tom Henderson to secure a loan from Sunshine Silver Mining & Refining Company and purchase 1,300 one-ounce silver coins to be sold for this year’s landmark anniversary fundraiser. The coins, designed by engineer and mine rescue coordinator Bryan Stepro, feature the original CMR logo on one side, and a special 100-year anniversary CMR logo on the other. 

Nutting passed away following an accident at the Galena Mine in April, so it was decided that his family would be the beneficiaries of the fundraiser. 

“It just kind of made sense to give it to them,” Peterson said. “We wanted to support someone in our community that was dealing with tremendous hardship. Our organization's entire purpose is to help miners in need, so this is an example of that community coming together to do just that.” With the assistance of Sunshine Technical Services Manager Nick Furlin and Sunshine HSE Manager Tyson Clyne, CMR launched the sale of the coins at the annual mine rescue competition. 

Combined with $2,500 in funds raised from a CMR auction in May, CMR had raised $19,200 for the Nutting family. 

“This was the most we have ever raised for any charitable event,” Peterson said. “I think it demonstrates the heart of a miner,” Henderson added. “Salt-of-the-earth, hard-working people. This is what miners are all about.”

Formed in 1923, Central Mine Rescue was originally created by a collection of Silver Valley mines with the goal of supporting each other during emergencies. 

The Sunshine Mine Fire and CMR’s ensuing rescue operations in 1972 further solidified the group and gave other mines outside of the area a reason to join. 

Today, CMR boasts approximately 150 mine rescue personnel and covers 12 different mines from Alaska to Nevada. 

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