Willow Grove Mine Tragedy Not Forgotten

BELLAIRE - Before a large gathering of family, friends and fellow Boy Scouts, Nassif James "Jimmy" Albert III, received is Eagle Scout designation in solemn and impressive ceremonies held on Oct. 31 in the Faith Fellowship Church, Bellaire,

Rev. Bill Marinelli, pastor, had the opening prayer and welcomed the guests to the ceremonies. John Rataiczak served as master of ceremonies.

For his Eagle Scout project, Jimmy chose to have a permanent monument erected to honor the 72 miners who lost their lives in the Willow Grove Coal Mine explosion on March 16, 1940.


                         Newly Designated Eagle Scout Jimmy Albert, left, receives his certificate from troop leader Dave McLeod.

It was his dream to have the monument erected and he began the task by contacting Jason Gallagher of the original Gallagher & Sons Monuments of Malaga and St. Clairsville, who donated the material and labor.

Jimmy's dream was fulfilled on April 3, 2010, when the monument was dedicated and erected in the Bellaire City Park.


He received recognition from elected and United Mineworkers of America officials for his noble achievement.

The Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony opened with the presenting of the colors. Chris Surface led the Pledge of Allegiance and several candles were lit.

During the ceremony, Jimmy's parents, Nassif J. and Elizabeth Marie expressed pride in their son's achievements as they were pinned by their son with an Eagle of their own during the ceremony. "We know how difficult it is to reach this highest rank," said his mother. She noted that only four percent of Boy Scouts every reach the pinnacle of scouting. "We know how hard Jimmy had to work to get there."

Mrs. Albert recalled how busy Jimmy was in high school. She said he set a goal to make the National Honor Society. "Then were were sports activities plus all the other things in which he was involved,"

She credited a great deal of Jimmy's success to his relationship with God who kept him rooted and grounded through his faith and has taught him diligence and faithfulness.

Mrs. Albert said the person who contributed most to Jimmy's success in scouting was Dave McLeod, Boy Scout Troop 23 leader. Jimmy awarded his mentor pin to McLeod during the ceremony.

Jimmy had many other positive role models and he lised them as John and Scott Rataiczak, Fred Surface, Jason Gallagher, Pastor Marinelli, and Billy Leigh, youth leader.

In his remarks, Scout leader McCleod said, "Jimmy, you are to be congratulated for reaching the highest peak of the Eagle Trail. Your diligence and hard work has paid off. This high peak is reached only by about four percent of the boys that join scouting. I have been a scout leader since 1996 and have probably had over 200 boys come and go since then. You are the eighth to reach the rank of Eagle," he said.

"You join the ranks of President Gerald Ford, Steven Fossett, Steven Speilberg and Neil Armstong along with those from Troop 23 - Roert Clason, Dylan Fowkes, Zack Puperi, Craig McLeod, Cory Elerick, Wade Reimenschnider, Zack Blon and now, you, Jimmy Albert. Along the way you have camped probably70 nights including six long term summer camps, visited Washington, D.C., New York City, performed many hours of community service, and was a great leader to our younger scouts Today, we salute you for reaching your cherised goal." McLeod said.

During the ceremony several certificates of recognition received by Jimmy were read. They included recognitions from Ohio Rep. John Domenick, Cong. Zack Space, Ohio Sen. Jason Wilson ,U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and UMWA President Mike Caputa.

The ceremony concluded with a prayer by Youth Pastor Billy Leigh.

Following the church ceremony, everyone attended a dinner in the auditorium.

Jimmy thanked the many people who helped him reach his goal - his sister, Katie, for sorting pictures and being a great sister and supporter, and especially "mom and dad, for all you have done and for your constant support and love."