40 Year Safe Miner Recognition and Hero Award

Nominate your 40 year safe miners! These are employees who have worked 40 years or longer in the Southeastern mining community without injury. This means they have not had any MSHA reportable incident. Here's your chance to recognize safe miners...and our chance to present them an award during our Annual Southeast Mine Safety and Health Conference.

Nominate your Hero miners! These are mine employees who have been part of a life saving event. Here's your chance to recognize hero miners...and our chance to present them an award during our Annual Southeast Mine Safety and Health Conference.

The award presentation event will be held during the Opening Session on November 1, 2018 when mining professionals from across America will be present. The Conference Executive committee will review all of the nominations and honor the top 15 recipients from our mining community.

Each of these miners will be offered free attendance at the conference. Photos of each miner receiving the award will be provided.

Do not delay! Safe job performance should not go unrecognized. The best safety records always affect your bottom line and recognition of these miners will further your safety cause.

Please note that this honor can only be received once per deserving miner.

Your application should include the following:

Miner Name & Brief Description of Job
Mine Name/Location/Contact Information
Years/time worked
Ideas from this miner as to what led to his/her safety success.

Nominations must be received before September 19, 2018. Email nominations to executivecommittee@southeastmineconf.org

Please Note:

Due to the limited funding our organization has available we can sponsor only conference registration for 40 Year Safe Miner and/or HeroAward Recipients but can't cover travel expenses. With our limited resources our group's guiding principles can only allow the 40 Year Safe Miner and/or HeroAward to be presented to deserving persons that can also attend the conference and are willing to take part in the award ceremony portion of the conference kickoff event.


2017 Awards

40 Year Safe Miners

Name Yrs Job Title Mine Company Safety Success
Albert “Zeek” O’Neal  44 Plant Foreman Knightdale Quarry Wake Stone Corporation Mr. O’Neal believes that thinking through a task before doing it has made the biggest impact on his ability to stay safe.  Proper planning allows you to ensure you have gathered the right equipment, identified all potential hazards, and ensures everyone understands the course of action.     
Johnnie D. Ritchie 40 Career Team Member  Contractor ID# AP6 Process Machinery, Inc.  Johnnie (J.D.) Ritchie has completed 40 years of service working for contractors. When discussing his success in remaining free of injury, he attributes it to “thinking the job through” and eliminating the “what ifs.”  The resources we have today to help protect miners and contractors were non-existent 40 years ago. 
Michael Ferguson 40 Career Team Member  Contractor ID# AP7 Process Machinery, Inc.  Mike Ferguson has completed 40 years without injury working in one of the more dangerous occupations in mining.  When discussing his 40 years of success, he attributes it to “watching out for each other, knowing where everyone is and effective communication.”  
Timothy R. Ross  40 Plant Operator  Maylene Quarry Martin Marietta  Tim said what has led to his Safety success is working with a crew that's just like Family everyone is always looking out for one another every day and not being afraid to stop any unsafe work practices when someone sees something.
Phillip Taylor  40 Production Supervisor Atlanta Plant Argos Cement “For me it was learning the potential hazards and risk and try to prevent accidents.”
Jackie Driver  40 Maintenance Supervisor Atlanta Plant Argos Cement One is I had some good people training and looking after me in my early years. I was the youngest person in the plant for about 7 years and everyone seemed to care about my safety. I was also lucky, at times because we have a very old plant and have seen a lot of near misses. 
Gary L. Lewis 41 Operations Manager  Maysville Underground Dravo/Carmeuse  I would watch and listen to the older miners work in the beginning to know the difference between right and wrong. Get involved in mine rescue training which helped a lot as well. I worked on doing it right and getting other miners involved.
Joe Weber 41 Health and Safety Manager, Trainer  Maysville Kiln Plant Dravo/Carmeuse  Getting the task completed in a safe manner so I could go home every day the same way I came in to work. I always tried to work with the miners to inspire them to work safe.
Sammy Linville 40 Kiln Operator  Black River Operation Carmeuse I’ve always believed in Safety first then production. I work hard to encourage my fellow coworkers to follow the work procedures that our company has put in place. There will always be a need to improve procedures but following the procedures are valuable. Everyone needs to make sure when you come to work that you go home the same way you came and to go home to your family. I teach Safety now so it’s even more important because my standard for safety is my top priority on the job and off the job.
Ernie Meyer 44 Production Supervisor Black River Operation Carmeuse Work area exams are #1.  Report anything you believe to be unsafe- if I’m not able to make it safe. Safety audits on my own or with others routinely done. Slams—they do work. PPE. Observations.
Tom Boyd 41 Chief Flotation Operator Wingate Creek Mine Mosaic  
John Shirley 42 Electrical Planner Four Corners Mine Mosaic Take your time to plan the job, follow the procedures.  Never take short cuts
Tim Edmonds 41 Supervisor Cumberland River Quarry  Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel  In 1987 his best friend drowned at 3 River Quarry.  He said he never wanted to experience something like that again.  He said he always makes sure his employees that work under him know the importance of working safe and the importance of going home to their family and friends every day.
Chapman Oneal Howard  40 Leadperson, equipment operator and performs maintenance   Tuscumbia Vulcan Materials Company paying attention, doing the right thing, following the rules and never taking short cuts
Kenneth Johnson  40 Plant Manager  Appling Quarry, Morgan County Quarry, Newton County Quarry Martin Marietta  Martin Marietta has taught safety since my employment. I contribute a lot of my safety success to discussing safety topics that affect our well-being
Mike Dobbs  44 Area Production Manager  Forsyth Quarry, Jefferson Quarry, Auburn GA Quarry, Lithonia Quarry Martin Marietta 1. “Always looking for ways to do things safer and easier.
2. If you find a near miss, look at the root cause and make sure changes are made to prevent it from happening again.
3. Look for unsafe conditions and either fix the problem or share with your supervisor to have them addressed.
4. Always wear your PPE when in the plant area.
5. Always use your tools and machinery safely and as designed by the manufacturer.
6. Be aware of your surroundings as you work and drive.
7. Watch out for other employees or coworkers to ensure they out of harm’s way.
8. Never take risks or short cuts that could lead to an injury.
9. Learn from your mistakes.”
Grady Smith  40 Senior Mechanic  Lithonia Quarry Martin Marietta “Family to make sure that I was there for them. I care about my life and want to be there for my family. To make sure I was there for my kids. My dad was not in my life as much so I wanted to be there for my kids and knowing if I was hurt or died it would have cut them short of having a dad in their 
Freddy Davis  40 Director of Maintenance  KaMin Performance Minerals  KaMin LLC  I had an accident at 11 years old that caused the loss of part of my left index finger.  I guess from that point on I realized how quick something bad can happen if you don’t keep your mind on the task you are performing.
Ralph Graham 40 Maintenance Superintendent Hephzibah Plant Unimin Ralph credits his success to close observation and not taking short-cuts
Mark Davis 41 Area Operations Manager Black River Operations Carmeuse Lime & Stone Keys to safety success include training, experience, education, practice, working with others and the support of God.
Wiley Longworth III (Donnie) 43 Production Supervisor Luttrell Operation Carmeuse Lime & Stone What inspired him to work safe to be able to enjoy his wife, children  and Grandchildren in his golden years 
Ralph Wiggins 42 Mechanic South Fort Meade  Mosaic Lead by example and never take short cuts
Danny Garner 45 Loader Operator Bennett’s Lake Quarry  Signal Mountain Cement Danny says that he has remained safe all these years because he not only respects himself and those around him, but also the machinery that he deals with.
Lloyd Hurley       41 Bulk Loader Sylacauga Imerys Carbonates  Back when I started, safety wasn't as important as it is today.  I always paid attention to what was going on around me to keep safe.
Kelly Stroud   40 Administrator/Control Systems    Sylacauga Imerys Carbonates  I guess just a little bit of luck and always following safety rules have kept me safe.
Daniel King       40 Supervisor/Bulk Loading     Sylacauga Imerys Carbonates  Ask him at the conference. 


2017 Hero Award

Barry Williams

2017 Southeast Mine Safety and Health Conference

Cemex, Demopolis, AL Cement Plant


When Barry Williams, an owner operator driver for New Line Transport, got into his truck and set out to pick up a load of cement at the CEMEX Demopolis, Alabama Cement Plant on August 1, 2017, he had no idea he’d return home a hero.

But, thanks to his quick actions and commitment to safety, that’s exactly what happened.

Williams was headed down Highway 80 just a few miles outside of Demopolis when he witnessed a harrowing accident.

The collision caused a car to spin out and careen over a bridge barricade into a creek.

Alarmed, Williams pulled over and ran to the bridge.

“At that point, I was trying to see if the driver was going to get out, but she wasn’t,” Williams said. “The only thing going through my mind was, ‘This woman is drowning. I could literally stand there and see her take her last breath.’”

He knew he didn’t have a lot of time. He threw his phone and wallet to the ground and climbed down the embankment into the creek.

“With the help and strength of God, I was able to climb down into the water. I had to pry the door open using my feet to push off the car,” he said. “Me and another passerby were trying to pull her out, but I realized she still had her seatbelt on. I had to go under the water to take it off, and then we were able to drag her to the bank and stay there with her until the rescuers got there.”

Demopolis emergency officials who responded to the scene took the woman to the hospital. Williams said he went to visit her on the following Saturday, and that she was on the road to recovery.

“When you drive for a living, you are putting your life and the lives of others in your hands every day. That’s why driver safety training like the Smith System is so important,” Williams said. “That can be the difference between a safe day on the job and a potential tragedy. I’m just happy that I was able to help this time, and this woman can go on and live her life. I truly believe that God put me there that day.”

“We at CEMEX are duly impressed by the heroic and selfless actions Williams took,” said Matt Wild, CEMEX USA’s executive vice president of logistics.

On August 17, the Demopolis, AL, City Council and the Demopolis Police Department recognized Williams’ heroic actions, gifting him a Key to the City and Medal of Valor.


2016 Awards

Click here to view 2016 40 Year Safe Miner Awards

2016 Hero Award 

From KaMin Performance Minerals – Wrens Plant

Recipients names:

Barrett Samuels
Marvin Shelton
Kenneth Joiner
Anthony Riddle
John Avery
Tim Williams
Madison Earl
Kyle Downs
Mike Chance
Lisa Adams
Charles Newsome
Jordan Delaney


2015 Awards

Click here to view 2015 awards

Click here to view all past awards