Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
  Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2011     See sidebar for table of contents

Larry Gibson A Passion for Justice, Personified

by Dianne Bady

Larry, in ball cap, explaining mountaintop removal to visitors from Ghana.

At OVECs January 21 celebration, Larry Gibson was awarded our Laura Forman Passion for Justice Award. This award has rarely been given. Laura was an OVEC volunteer and organizer for nine years. She died unexpectedly in 2001, at age 39, during a protest against mountaintop removal that she had organized.

Laura demonstrated extraordinary courage, persistence, and inspiration to others, in the then-new fight against mountaintop removal. Larry was often at her side,

or out in front.

Im proud that OVEC was one of the first groups focusing on grassroots organizing to oppose MTR. But long before OVEC was involved in this fight, Larry Gibson was a lone voice in the wilderness, talking to anyone who would listen about how the mountains around his ancestral home on Kayford Mountain were being blown apart; how graves and gravestones in his family cemetery were falling into the abyss created by explosives and greed.

Since then, Larry has traveled all over the country talking to groups about the horrors of MTR.

Hes been quoted in hundreds of news articles, some of them written in other languages. Thousands of people have taken him up on his invitation to visit Kayford Mountain and see the destruction for themselves.

And when I personally have felt too nervous to go up to Larrys mountain at a particularly contentious time, Larry was there and never backed down, even in the face of repeated threats.

Few people give of themselves to the extent that Larry has, and he deserves far more recognition than we can give him. Larry heads the Keepers of the Mountain Foundation. We also appreciate Larrys faithful service on OVECs board. Larry, youre a winner!

 

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