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  • News about a coal-mining fatality in my homestate of West Virginia flooded by Twitter feed this morning. According to the press, the 27-year-old miner was caught between a scoop and a continuous miner in a Greenbrier County mine.

    My heart immediately sunk and faces started racing through my mind. Could it be someone I know?

    My thoughts went to Bobby Lee. Bobby is a 26-year-old coal miner who runs the exact same machine involved in this morning's fatality.

    I met Bobby this summer while shooting for HOLLOW in McDowell County, West Virginia. I filmed him in his foreman certification class, driving to work, operating the powerful continuous miner in the depths of the earth and coming out from work with a coal-covered face.

    We talked about his childhood dreams to become football star and his reasons behind choosing coal mining as a profession.

    This morning, I encourage you to put aside your opinions about coal and simply listen to the viewpoint of a 26-year-old miner. The story of a coal miner isn't as black and white as we all like to believe.

    My heart goes out to the mourning family Steve Odell of Mt Nebo.

    -Elaine, director of HOLLOW: An Interactive Documentary
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