Skip to content
DOL/MSHA Media Advisory
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9423

Released Friday, July 25, 2003

MSHA a Finalist in 2003 Service to America Award

WASHINGTON - The U. S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has been named as a finalist for the 2003 Service to America Medals, a national awards program that honors the groundbreaking achievements of federal employees. The team from MSHA, led by Ray McKinney, was nominated for the Federal Employee of the Year Medal for the successful rescue last July of nine trapped Pennsylvania coal miners.

"This award recognizes the best and brightest members of the federal workforce," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "I commend Ray McKinney, Assistant Secretary of Labor Dave Lauriski, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration for demonstrating incredible tenacity, technical expertise and team work during a 77-hour ordeal that resulted in nine saved lives and in one of our nation's true happy endings."

On July 24, 2002, miners working underground in the Quecreek mine accidentally broke into an adjacent abandoned mine, which unleashed millions of gallons of water and trapped nine men for three days. MSHA provided critical technical expertise, leadership and rescue equipment as rescuers drilled 240 feet into the earth to reach the men and pull them safely to the surface.

Nine of the 28 finalists will be selected and honored at an awards ceremony on October 15, 2003, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Service to America Medals were created in 2002 by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to recruiting and retaining excellence in the federal civil service, and the Atlantic Media Company, publisher of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal and Government Executive magazines.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration promotes improved safety and health conditions in the nation's mines and carries out the mandates of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 through enforcement, education and training, and technical assistance.