VAN, WV (WOWK) – The investigation continues into the accident at a Kanawha County coal mine that killed a 20-year-old miner.
Taylor Halstead was a firefighter with the Van Volunteer Fire Department for more than a year before becoming a coal miner and some of his friends say there was never a dull moment when he was around.
“He never knew a stranger either. He could meet you right now and in about two minutes you’d be best friends with him. He’d made you laugh the first 30 seconds really,” Chris Bias, Halstead’s friend said.
“He would just make you burst out laughing,” Ethan Howell, Halstead’s friend said.
Sweet memories of laughter and joy is what Howell and Bias choose to remember about their childhood friend and former co-worker or what others knew him by.
“We called him Bigman.” Bias said. “Back in elementary school, going into middle school, we were all just short sprouts and next thing you know you just see this big blonde headed kid walking through, he was a senior, out of nowhere.”
Halstead died Monday morning in an accident underground at panther mining’s American Eagle Mine in Dawes near Cabin Creek. He leaves behind a loving family and a two-month-old baby girl.
“That was his biggest dream being a coal miner once that baby came into play. It was dad mode for him. he’d do anything for her,” Bias said.
Halstead’s friends describe him as a selfless person – one who always cared about others.
“He was definitely somebody that you could talk to, talk to your problems about. he’d give the shirt off his back for you. and he put others before himself. He made sure everyone was happy and had what they needed,” Howell said.
For some, the news is still hard to process.
“I couldn’t believe it, just last week I talked to him,” Bias said.
Saturday the Van Volunteer Fire Department is having a memorial ride through town, in honor of Halstead. The department is asking people to meet at Shoppers Value at 3 p.m.