Brian’s Coal Mine Story


“Team Never Quit embodies the heart of a warrior, men and women in all walks of life who have faced incredible hardship but have chosen not only to survive but to learn from the experience and make themselves and those around them stronger for it. Our commitment is to honor those who have fallen, stand with those who have survived, and share their stories that we might inspire others to Never Quit.”

When we say, “Men and women in all walks of life who have faced incredible hardship,” we mean all. Through our podcast, we have had the opportunity to hear some incredible stories of men and women who have chosen to fight hard to survive. Everyone can’t serve in the military. And every story of fighting and standing strong and surviving doesn’t have to be a military story. That’s why we say “men and women in all walks of life.”

Brian wrote to us several months ago to share his story of the TNQ Spirit.

“That morning, I got to the coal mine an hour early. In the coal mine business, if you’re not an hour early, you’re an hour late because you have to know what the guys underground are doing, condition-wise before you cage down. I remember our Chaplin’s prayer that morning as he kept saying, “Watch over us today.” I got with my 10-man crew, and we caged down about 7:00 a.m., watching the sun fade as we recited the Lord’s Prayer.

My job, along with a couple of other guys, was to unload five train cars of sack Crete by hand. About three hours in, one of the guys quit on us, making the work very hard. We had to call to get him out of the mine, and after an hour or so later, me throwing concrete bags into the hopper that whole time, I was totally spent.

Then it happened. A loud pop and a big orange glow meant one thing, fire on our section. And to make matters worse, it was electric. We started fighting the fire with rock dust and realized our only option was to open the airlock door and have a man run the 1000 feet to the power center to cut all the power.

As soon as we opened the airlock door to let him out, the air hit the fire and it expanded. We were out of rock dust, out of manpower, and out of options.

Then I realized we could use the sac Crete to smother the fire. After three hours, we knocked it down enough to get water in. At 11:34 p.m., sixteen and a half hours after going down into that mine, the rest of my team and I caged up, and man, were we happy to see daylight and the whole shift there to welcome us out.

I learned that day, just no matter what’s going on, don’t lie down and give up. Find a way and fight. Go outstanding on your feet, and if you can’t do that, go out on your knees.”

Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by a situation that has you trapped where you feel like there’s no way out? Do you feel like Brian that day, out of resources, out of help, and out of options?

If you said yes to any of that, congratulations, you’re living a TNQ life. When you’re faced with what feels like an insurmountable problem, with the heart of a TNQ warrior, dig down and find the will to survive. And once you see the light of day, take what you learn from the experience and make yourself and those around you stronger.

More to Explore

Never Quitting, Never Losing

Ever heard the expression, “Misery loves company?” It simply means when you are suffering, it somehow makes the suffering easier to know