The United Mine Workers of America recently awarded Clarence Crawford of Bridgeport a plaque for his more than 80 years of membership with the union.
Crawford, 100, is a native of Wellsburg. He began working as a coal miner as a teenager and retired in 1976. He was given the award at his home by Larry Vucelich, international field representative; Mike Caputo, District 31 vice president; and Sue Rine, UMWA administrative assistant.
Crawford, who celebrated his 100th birthday July 25, said he was very surprised to receive the plaque, an effort initiated by his nephew Donnie Crawford of Wellsburg.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Mike Caputo, United Mine Workers of America District 31 vice president, shakes hands with Bridgeport resident Clarence Crawford, 100, while giving Crawford a plaque recognizing his more than 80 years of membership with the union. Crawford became a coal miner as a teenager and retired in 1976.
''The big excitement is that I'm 100 years old - that covers a lot,'' Clarence Crawford said.
Donnie Crawford, also a retired coal miner, said he approached officials at the UMWA office in Bridgeport about getting his uncle the honor. He noted union members typically receive pins recognizing their decades of service.
''They don't make an 80-year pin - that's why they made him a plaque,'' Donnie Crawford said.
Clarence Crawford worked in the Windsor Mine, which provided coal for the former Beech Bottom power plant, the Ireland Mine, which was located south of Moundsville, and several other smaller mines that only operated during the winter - when people purchased coal to heat their homes.
''I worked where we had work. The big mines worked year-round - you didn't have to worry about finding work during summers,'' Clarence Crawford said.
He said he appreciates what the union has done over the years.
''As far as I can remember, they always took care of people,'' he added.
Caputo said he was happy to honor Crawford.
''We appreciate your service and what you've done. We know it's people like you who built this union,'' Caputo said. ''We're going to continue protecting your health care and pension.''
Caputo invited Crawford to an open house for the Bridgeport office's relocation to Bellaire sometime in October.
The plaque states, ''With enormous and heartfelt respect, the officers and members of the United Mine Workers of America recognize our 100-year-young friend and brother Clarence Crawford for his more than 80 years of membership and fraternal fellowship with the UMWA and its members.''