Britnee Gibson, a 17-year old senior at Gilbert High School, is every bit the “coal miner’s daughter.  She was born and raised in the coal fields of southern West Virginia. Her father, Dwain, is a diesel mechanic and works for a coal hauling company.  Gibson is proud of the industry and the work her father does.

During the just-ended 2009 session of the West Virginia State Legislature, Gibson led the effort to have coal named the official “state rock.”  The effort grew out of a project Gibson did for the CEDAR Regional Coal Fair in 2007.

“I realized the state didn’t have an official state rock,” Gibson said, “and I thought, what better to be the state rock than coal.”

Gibson included a petition to that effect with her display and kept up the effort throughout this past year. After compiling 2,500 signatures, she got the measure placed before the state legislature this year with the help of Sen. Truman Chafin (D-Mingo) and Del. Harry Keith White (D-Mingo).

The resolution passed near the end of the session.

West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said he was proud of the work Gibson has done.

“Britnee’s effort and her determination to win recognition for the role coal plays in our state and nation is amazing,” Raney said. “Britnee knows how important coal is to her family and her future.”

Britnee’s 2007 project wasn’t her first on behalf of coal. In fact, she has been active in the CEDAR educational effort since 2001. Britnee is a tri-athlete at Gilbert High School; she is an honor student and was the 2008-2009 homecoming queen.  She is planning to attend Concord University majoring in athletic training.  She is the daughter of Larry Dwain and Janet Gibson.

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