Charles Jody Neece helped to save eight men from drowning, Wilkesville, Ohio, July 11, 1993. Eight miners were working in a distant area of an underground coal mine when millions of gallons of water from an adjoining, abandoned mine began to flood the corridors of the working mine. The miners were alerted to the situation and ordered to evacuate. They proceeded on foot toward the nearest elevator, unaware of the extent of the flooding ahead of them. Although he could have then left the mine himself, Neece, 37, fire boss, volunteered to go after the miners to change their course. To get to them, he waded, in darkness, about 2,200 feet through rising floodwater, which, hurling debris, flowed swiftly. After making contact with the escaping miners, Neece directed them 2.5 miles through mine corridors to reach the point at which a mine supervisor was awaiting them with trolleys. The eight miners, Neece, and the supervisor rode the trolleys toward an elevator, en route picking up another fleeing miner. As the group proceeded, a power outage forced them to abandon the electrical conveyance, and they continued on foot. When one of the men restored power to the trolleys, they resumed riding to the elevator, which they took to the surface of the mine shortly before floodwaters reached the bottom of the elevator shaft.
68637 – 789368637-7893