Once the dominant source of energy in the U.S., the coal industry has taken a beating in recent years.
In 2007, coal consumption hit its peak but has declined by nearly a third in the time since.
Coal production has plummeted, largely due in part to the power companies moving away from the mined source of energy and moving toward natural gas and renewable resources like solar and wind.
This means that states that primarily depend on coal for the health of their economies like West Virginia and Wyoming have felt the hit the hardest.
For instance, according to CNBC, mining employment in West Virginia is down 40-percent in just the past five years, with some parts of the state losing as many as 70-percent of their coal mining jobs.
Despite these harrowing numbers, there are still men that head below the surface of the earth to mine coal for hours on end and to this day, being a coal miner is one of the most dangerous jobs someone can do.
Head to the next page to see how one young man inspired his crew…