Stowers Connects With Anthem, West Virginia Values
Across the country, a lot people consider coal mining an ancient relic of days gone by. Something that maybe ought to go away.
Here in West Virginia, there are different opinions. It’s a state where coal mining literally and figuratively runs deep. A state where the premier college football team begins its game day by traditionally laying their hands on a large chunk of coal strategically placed at the stadium’s entrance.
Many families can trace their ancestry back through several generations of men who have gone underground to support their families and provide America with the fuel it needed to power its industry and utilities.
But no matter your opinion on the mining industry itself, there’s no question about the people who actually dig the coal. Coal miners are a proud, hard-working group. They’re simple people who love their country, and love their sports teams. Josh Stowers is no different.
“I live in a small town called Nellis. It’s one of those everyone knows everybody towns.”
Stowers might have went on working his job at Alpha Natural Resources’ Mammoth Coal operation in relative anonymity had it not been for a video of him singing the National Anthem. The video was posted and it went viral, appearing on national news outlets around the country.
He said singing has always been a part of his life.
“I always wanted to sing growing up. It started for me when I got my first guitar when I was 8 years old. It was a beautiful Sigma Martin guitar, and I still remember it to this day.”
He said he was approached by mine officials asking him if he wanted to sing for that evening’s shift.
“I didn’t even know I was being recorded,” Stowers revealed.
Alpha’s safety representative, Shane Wriston, recorded and posted the video and it took social media by storm. Within hours the video had over 100,000 likes.
“The video instantly took off like wildfire. It ended up being shared on almost every news station in the country,” he said.
Sowers said the video has appeared on FOX News, Good Morning America, and even international news in the UK.
“The support and positive comments thanking me has just been overwhelming. Donald Trump even tweeted me and posted it on his Instagram and twitter accounts.”
And the WVU connection? His rendition was so moving that he has been invited to sing the national anthem at the Coliseum for the WVU – Albany charity basketball game on Saturday night.
“I was contacted by Gina Costa and asked if I wanted to sing at the basketball game. I told her, ‘Absolutely!’ I was born and raised in Boone County, so blue and gold has been in my blood since I was born,” Stowers said.
Mountaineer fans will no doubt rise as one to lend their voices to Sowers on Saturday night when it comes time to honor America. He said he can’t wait.
“I’m extremely grateful, excited and blessed to have such an amazing opportunity given to me.”