With less than 6 months experience, Jeremy is Cobalt’s youngest and only “Red Hat” miner. Recently married and soon to be a father, Jeremy is looking to jump-start a long career in coal mining to support his family. He hopes to follow in his cousin, Jonathan Dotson’s, footsteps and work his way up to a Roof Bolter position. When Jeremy was fresh out of high school, his father tried to encourage him to go to college and get a job outside the mines, but he wanted to feel like a true West Virginian and call himself a coal miner.
After 23 years of truck driving and always being on the road, Joseph moved back home to West Virginia and took at job in the coal mines. As a trained EMT, he’s worked his way up from a Red Hat (novice coal miner) to Miner Operator. After three years of mining, his injuries have been limited to a mangled finger and feels that coal mining is less dangerous than being a truck driver on the open road.
A third generation miner (his mother is the mine’s office secretary, father a trucker and grandfather a miner), Jonathan grew up just three miles from the mine. Recently, promoted from a Red Hat apprentice to a Black Hat, Jonathan took the job at the mine to support his wife a baby daughter. Jonathan intends to be a coal miner for the rest of his life saying “I enjoy being a coal miner, I’m proud of it. You can say you’re a coal miner and everyone has respect for you. They know what you go through.”
Hank’s been mining since 2000. He’s a second-generation miner whose father retired after an injury in the hole. His father discouraged him from mining, but Hank says in West Virginia, you’re either a logger, miner or flipping burgers and says he wasn’t about to start flipping burgers. Hank says that coal mining is just something he loves, that it’s in his family’s blood – and deep in his blood.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather who took him underground for the first time when he was 12, Jeremy has close to a decade of mining under his belt. A car accident cost him a college basketball scholarship and he had to move back home and take a job in the mines. Jeremy was seriously injured in a rock fall that left him covered for more than 30 minutes underground. He was out of work for more than a month and was afraid to go back into “the hole,” but for the sake of his two daughters, faced his fear and now mining at Cobalt Coal.
Andy is a third generation miner born and raised in West Virginia. Andy works alongside his son Andrew, Jr. hoping to teach him the ropes before he retires. As the anchor of the Day Shift and commanding great respect from his co-workers, everyone refers to Andy is one of the best continuous miners in the state. Incredibly close to his son Andrew, he is glad that he’s following in his footsteps. When Andy was a young miner, he had a mentor that took him under his wing and believed in him and he hopes to do the same for his son.
Andrew is one of the youngest miners at Cobalt Coal and works on the day shift alongside his dad and mining legend Andy Christian Sr. Andrew wants to become a continuous miner operator just like his dad. Though it’s one of the most difficult and dangerous positions, it’s also one of the highest-paying jobs in the mine. Andrew knows that with his dad training him, he’ll be one of the best miner operators in the state, just like his dad.
Coal mining is a business but it's also a dangerous one. Watch this exclusive season preview of Spike's new original series Coal and find out what's in store for the Cobalt Coal miners. Coal airs Wednesdays at 10PM/9c only on Spike.