Steve Fidel, Deseret Morning News
Sheila Phillips, left, mother of miner Brandon Phillips (in photo with his 5-year-old son, Gage), prepares statement along with daughter Cassie Phillips, right, and Cassie's boyfriend, Weston Hamaker.

HUNTINGTON, Emery County — About $540,000 in donations has been disbursed to the families of the nine men killed in the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse, with at least $146,000 still in bank and credit union accounts.

The Sept. 16 "Celebration of Heroes" concert in Huntington raised about $40,000 that will be given to miners' families next week, promoter Gary Arrington said. Helper city raised $106,000 that is still in the bank.

"We're still getting donations," city recorder Jona Skerl said. "They haven't sat down and decided how to split it up yet," she said of city officials.

The changing scenario after the Aug. 6 collapse inside the mine has complicated efforts to disburse some funds.

Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon said the major trust fund, at Zions Bank, was set up for the initial six trapped miners before rescue efforts Aug. 16 left three rescuers dead and six others injured. After getting legal advice from the state and others about disbursing donated money — including $100,000 from Peter Green, a former owner of the Crandall Canyon Mine — Gordon said money from the major fund was disbursed, all at once, to families of the nine men who perished.

"When the second tragedy happened, the three other deceased men were added, not that others weren't impacted," Gordon said. "We drew the line between the living and the dead and just kind of left it there."

Gordon said Zions Bank also gave $5,000 each to families of the rescue workers who were injured.

One of the first fund-raising activities was an Aug. 19 event in Price organized by Kim Martino and Chris Mele of Pierce Oil, Jeanette Marasco of Haycock Petroleum and Francis Anderson of Car Quest. "We raised approximately $43,000. All has been distributed to the nine families," Martino said.

Contributions also have come from the Utah High School Activities Association, funds established at several credit unions, $14,000 from shoppers at Albertsons statewide and a Sept. 15 "Celebration of Heroes" concert co-sponsored by Arrington and Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s office. Arrington said that event raised about $40,000, all of which he expects to disburse to miners' families next week.

Not all of the community effort involved fund raising, Gordon said. "We've had support in anything that was needed in any way. Quilts. Crocheted blankets. Toy bags from the Kiwanis Club. Cards. Letters. There was so much stuff — from the smallest things to the biggest, people were so generous."

Arrington said the tragedy broadly cast a pall on the rural community from which area coal mines draw their workers. Regarding the "Celebration of Heroes" concert, Arrington said, "One of our objectives was to change people's attitudes. We really accomplished that. It's still the talk of the town."

Price Mayor Joe Piccolo said Friday he and his wife recently have established a scholarship fund designed to benefit the children of all coal miners in the area.

"I foresee it being something that might be more long-term and not so much related to the (Crandall Canyon) incident but brought about because of that situation," Piccolo said.

The scholarship fund will be managed by a board of directors from both Carbon and Emery counties and would pay academic and applied technology education expenses at the College of Eastern Utah in Price.


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