We are truly saddened to report the recent death of environmentalist, hero, and friend of The Blessings Project Foundation, Larry Gibson. Larry dedicated his life to the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining. He was an impassioned and courageous figure with a very personal connection to the cause. Since the 1700s, Larry’s family has owned 50 acres on Kayford Mountain, West Virginia, and more than 300 of his family members are buried there. Today, as a result of the daily destruction of surrounding mountains, Kayford Mountain stands as a small mushroom of preserved, lush green land, surrounded by leveled mountains and a devastated landscape.
As part of what started as a one-man crusade against mountaintop removal coal mining, Larry founded The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation to educate and inspire people to work for healthier, more sustainable mountain communities. Throughout his battle, and like most heroic figures, Larry was threatened, harassed, and his property vandalized, by those connected with the coal industry who sought to silence him. Yet, Larry fought on, spoke even more forcefully and loudly, his commitment to
the cause never wavering. The only thing that ever wavered about Larry was his voice when emotion overcame him as he talked about the massive-scale environmental destruction of the West Virginia mountains and communities caused by the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Just like the beloved Dr Seuss character, The Lorax, Larry spoke for the Mountains; he was their voice, their friend, their advocate, and their redeemer.
“I first set out to save my mountain, Kayford Mountain. By establishing a land trust, we saved our piece of it forever. Now, I fight to save all mountains, and all the people living in them. Because this movement can’t be about just me. It can’t be about just this mountain. It has to be about the people who don’t have a say, like our children and grandchildren.”
Friends and family of Larry Gibson will celebrate his life and legacy on Sunday, October 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium, located on the corner of Virginia and Truslow Streets, across from the Charleston Town Center Mall. The public is encouraged to attend to help celebrate Larry’s life and legacy. You are encouraged to RSVP and invite friends to this Facebook event . Please consider a donation to The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation in Larry’s honor to sustain his fight against mountaintop removal coal mining.
Amanda Fitzgerald, Executive Director