On January 2, 2006, an explosion shook the Sago Mine in West Virginia. Thirteen men were trapped. This song is a tribute to the men who perished in that disaster. The credits at the end of the video indicate that the song called “They Were Not Alone” was recorded in Nashville in 2006 by GuyMon & McCann. That song and video were just their own personal way of remembering and honoring everyday guys like those 12 West Virginians: Martin Toler Jr., David Lewis, Marshall Winans, Alva Martin Bennett, Jesse Jones, George 'Junior' Hamner, Tom Anderson, Fred Ware, Terry Helms, Jerry Groves, Jim Bennett, and Jackie Weaver. Randy McCloy was the sole survivor.
I was similarly moved by the tragedy and wrote a song called “Pitch Black by the Ton.” If interested, you can read more about it here. That song tells about the events that unfolded in the miners’ final hours. As the oxygen dwindled, foreman Toler’s last words, scratched on a note, were “Tell all. I see them on the other side. It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep. I love you.” Just letting their families know that they didn’t suffer was a blessing.
Songs like these pay homage to these hardworking, proud men. Toler’s wife kindly wrote to thank me for my song and said, “Although days may be lonely, I have the secure knowledge that I will see him again.” With improved safety measures in the mines, let’s hope this kind of tragic event never happens again.