Mine rescue team identified by readers | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateFri, 19 Apr 2024 5pm

Mine rescue team identified by readers

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  The Mail loves to hear feedback on its work, and this week some of it was instant, and from unexpected places.

    On A3 of the October 27 edition, The Mail ran a story entitled Mine Rescue in Chile brings chilly memories to miners. A photo that accompanied the story of the 1955 Drumheller Valley Mine Rescue Competition champions brought instant recognition to Morrin resident Paige Olsen.
    Her father Granger Cumberford appears in the picture. He was captain of the team. The cutline of the photo asked readers if they could help the Atlas Coal Mine identify which mine the team represented.
    Olsen was able to answer that question straight away. Her father represented the Red Deer Valley Coal Mine in the Nacmine area.
    “Daddy was very safety oriented. He carried on teaching first aid for many years for St. John’s Ambulance,” said Olsen. He was always involved in safety.”
    Her father worked exclusively for the Red Deer Valley Mine while he was in the valley. Around 1961 the family left the valley. Olsen had already married and remained. Her father went on to work for the Alberta Gas Trunk, and then as safety superintendent for Alberta Gas Trunk in Calgary. He continued working until he was 72.
    She is familiar with the picture and believes her family still has possession of a copy of the photo.
    Linda Digby at the Atlas was happy to receive the feedback as it allowed the museum to update some of its archives.
    The story also stirred up some memories for Don Wilson, who read the story on Drumhellermail.com in Ottawa. He is the son of Andrew Wilson who was a mine manager.
    “I like looking at your paper, there are a lot of things that are of interest,” said Wilson.
    He has a vivid memory of some of the events when his family was in the valley.
“They started licensing surveys in Alberta in 1935, and my father had number one,” said Wilson. “He was at the Star, the Monarch, the Atlas and at the Nacmine Mine.”
    He clearly remembers the flood of 1948.
    “They managed to get me across the bridge before it went out. I had to go to the hospital because I had a ruptured appendix,” said Wilson.
    During their tenure in the valley, his family lived near most of the major mines. For a short time, the family was in Crowsnest Pass, before returning to valley.
    Long time Nacmine resident Fred Orosz also recognized a face in the photo that accompanied last week’s story. His uncle Alex Balazi was pictured in the front row. He worked at the Red Deer Valley Mine, and then moved to Uranium City in Saskatchewan.


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