Lighting the state Capitol's Christmas tree, Governor Ed Rendell honored three Pennsylvania companies who played key roles in rescuing 33 Chilean miners this fall.
Rendell said 2010 was a glum year, with the ongoing recession and other negative news dominating headlines.
The miners' dramatic rescue was a welcome diversion, providing much-needed hope and positive vibes to people around the world.
"The didn't have to wait until Christmas. They didn't have to wait until Thanksgiving. In fact, they got out before Halloween, in mid-October. And these two Pennsylvania companies played an extraordinarily important part in what is the best story that happened in this world in 2010."
Somerset-based Center Rock Inc. and Schramm Inc. of Chester County provided equipment used to drill the rescue tunnel, while Philadelphia's Aramark supplied the food rescue workers lowered down to the miners.
Chile's Ambassador to the U.S., Arturo Fermandois also spoke at the event.
"The story of being able to help miners trapped, and keep them alive for 69 days with the crucial help of Pennsylvania companies, is one of the stories that has inspired us as a country."
Rendell explains why he focused the ceremony on the miners' rescue.
"It lifted the spirits of the world. I think it was the feel-good story of 2010 for this planet. Maybe the best story of the year. So I thought it would be great for us in Pennsylvania to honor that rescue."
Chile's Defense Minister also attended the ceremony.