TODAY: Rockefeller hosts black lung forum in Bluefield
Sen. Jay Rockefeller speaks to coal miners, coal miners' widows, health professionals and others at a black lung conference he hosted at the Bluefield Area Arts Center on Thursday. Joining Rockefeller at the table are, from left to right, public health analyst Anita Wolfe, Terry Fike, whose husband Chester recently died from complications of black lung disease, and Dr. Donal Rasmussen, a Beckley doctor who specializes in treating and diagnosing black lung.
Ronnie Billing, 63, of Keigley, far left, has had trouble breathing since 1998. Danny Reed, of Bluewell, 59, has black lung disease. The two men attended a discussion Sen. Jay Rockefeller hosted in Bluefield today to talk about the hurdles they face. Also in attendance are Debbie Johnson, who works at Bluestone Health Center's black lung unit and Dennis Robertson, a benefits counselor.
Brooks Roberts, 64, of Princeton, his wife Josephine, 66, and Samuel Delp, 66, of Beckley, sit in the back of the room at the conference. Both men were longtime miners, and both now have breathing problems.