Steve Jerwa - Retired Coal Miner

This mine should never have been shut down. I can tell you how much coal they left behind - it's a bloody crime and a disgrace.

My dad came here from the old country, Poland. He got crippled up at Bankhead. I was born in Bankhead in 1914 and started mining at age fifteen. The first day I was in there, after only two hours, they packed me out on a stretcher.

I had to quit coal mining because my lungs got too bad. I worked all my time underground in dirty bloody jobs like rock drilling - and I got that job because I was big for my age. I got silicosis from drilling rock. I had to get out because I couldn't take the dust anymore.

In those days, you'd have a good time because Saturday you'd all chip in a dollar and buy a sixteen-gallon keg for $14. You'd drink for two days and go like hell.

My brothers and I all played hockey. I turned pro when I was fifteen and played professionally in Seattle,Vancouver and Calgary. My brothers played in the NHL.

Everybody played sports in Canmore because nobody had a nickel to do anything else. And I'm glad I grew up during the hard times, because I had lots of sports.

But now, I bloody near die when I walk a hundred feet.Yeah, with all my damn hockey medals and trophies, I've got nothing to show for it. Although I still have time for fishing on Lake Minnewanka with my buddies.