Bill Arnold woke out of a sound sleep on a July night in 2002 to find that nine coal miners were trapped in the flooded Quecreek Mine directly underneath his organic dairy farm in Somerset, PA . He spent the next four days swept up in a rescue effort that has changed his life. Almost eight years later, Arnold has hired people to do most of the dairy farming so he can devote his time to preserving and sharing the Quecreek story--what he calls the "greatest rescue in mining history", as well as an example of human ingenuity and determination to save lives.
Now the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation, which Arnold directs, has become an affiliate of the Senator John Heinz History Center and will have access to its staff, library and archives to convey the events of 2002 and mining heritage in general.
More than 10,000 visitors a year come to see artifacts from the rescue effort. Arnold hopes to raise about a million dollars to finish the educational center in time for even more visitors expected when the nearby Flight 93 memorial is completed in 2011.