Memorial Service Commemorates 72 Men Lost in Willow Grove Mine Tragedy

Belmont County, Ohio – A tragic event in history continues to be remembered as a community gathers to honor 72 men who lost their lives in the Willow Grove Mine explosion on March 16, 1940. Today, a memorial service was held to pay tribute to the fallen miners and recognize the families affected by the devastating loss.

In March 2020, a memorial stone, statue, and a bell from the Sacred Hearts Church were placed in Willow Grove as a permanent reminder of the lives lost in the tragic incident. The bell, which rang on the day of the explosion, serves as a poignant symbol of remembrance for the community.

District 31 Vice President Michael Payton expressed the importance of honoring the memory of the miners who perished in the explosion. He emphasized the sacrifices made by these individuals to provide for their families and support their community, underscoring the valor and dedication of those working in the mining industry.

Ray Wright, a third-generation coal miner deeply connected to the industry, highlighted the widespread impact of the explosion on families in the community. He emphasized that beyond the 72 lives lost, the tragedy reverberated through countless households, leaving a profound legacy of grief and loss.

The memorial in Willow Grove stands as a solemn tribute to the fallen miners and a stark reminder of the risks miners face in their daily work. Wright emphasized the enduring effects of the disaster on the community, serving as a poignant reflection on the dangers inherent in mining operations.

The commemorative event not only honors the memory of the 72 men who perished in the Willow Grove Mine explosion but also serves as a testament to the resilience and unity of the community in the face of tragedy. It highlights the ongoing importance of preserving the legacy of those who sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of providing for their families and supporting their community.