Ever wonder how a disabled person got by before Social Security, disability and all those other programs? Well, if they were coal miners, they found a way to work.
Here are some of the coal miners from Maryland and West Virginia who worked because they needed to do. They come from the unpublished memoirs of a miner named Kenny Bray.
John Schooly had been crippled by polio and was only able to walk with the aid of crutches. Schooly actually had two sets of crutches; one was normal length and the second pair was only three feet long. He used the short crutches to drag himself through the mine headings to the face of the mine. When he got there, he braced his hands on the rails and pushed the coal cars into place with his shoulder. Then he would work from a sitting position to load the coal into the car.
A miner named Crouse was nearly blind. He would have to move within a few inches of a fuse to make sure he was lighting it. Other miners that Bray knew were missing an arm or a leg or a hand.
All of them managed to work at a very physical job. It is just one of the many ways that coal miners showed without words that they were tough.