On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.
The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV.
Funeral services for former Congressman and Secretary of State Ken Hechler have been announced.
A funeral service will be held at 3:00 Monday afternoon at the Culture Center on the grounds of the State Capitol in Charleston. Hechler will lie in repose there beginning at 10:00 that morning. The service will be broadcast live on The West Virginia Channel.
Longtime West Virginia Congressman, Secretary of State, and World War II veteran, Ken Hechler has died at the age of 102. He was known nationwide for his work in improving coal mine health and safety, among many other accomplishments.
Former West Virginia Secretary of State and U.S. Rep. Ken Hechler says his health is improving and he hopes that he will soon be released from the hospital.
Ken Hechler's wife, Carol Hechler, said the 101-year-old was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday because he was experiencing some internal bleeding and had a seizure. He was eventually transferred to another hospital in Maryland.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting filmmakers Chip Hitchcock and Russ Barbour produced a documentary on Hechler's life and work. The 2008 film, Ken Hechler: In Pursuit of Justice, is a two-part documentary examining the role of political office throughout 20th century America.
You can begin watching The Pursuit of Justice by streaming the embedded video below. To continue with the remaining parts, visit our YouTube playlist.