“Retirement” – to me, that word means having no schedule, no plans, and spending a lot of time relaxing and doing all the things one never had time to do while they were working. Over the past few years, I have seen my mother “retire” – and now work more hours at her “part-time job” and be more involved in activities than she was while working. And now…Brownie Carson retired after 27 years as NRCM’s executive director, and what is HE doing? He’s still working hard to protect the environment.
I talk to Brownie weekly, it seems, to catch up and see what he is up to during his first months of retirement. After being his assistant at NRCM for 12 years, I had gotten used to seeing him and talking to him every day. So, it’s nice to still be in touch as frequently as we are. He tells me of trips to visit his best friend. He talks of time spent with his granddaughter. And occasionally, he still calls to ask for my “assistance” on one project or another.
Last week’s request came in the form of a phone call early on Saturday morning. He was looking for a place to park his car in West Virginia. Yes…West Virginia. I told him of a friend who used to live down there and after contacting her via Facebook, we found him a place to park his car for a week. “And what will you be doing in West Virginia for a week?” I asked.
Brownie said he would be marching 50 miles in five days to (according to the March’s website) “commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, when 10,000 coal miners rose against the rule of the coal operators and fought for the basic right to live and work in decent conditions.” This peaceful march is also to raise awareness of the threats to Blair Mountain from mountain top removal mining.
The day Brownie, a Virginia native, decided to participate, he had gone to the Brunswick Farmer’s Market and run into an NRCM board member, originally from Kentucky. They started talking and decided they would both go to West Virginia and do this march together. So, off they went, not expecting the extreme heat, but knowing that they had to be a part of this event, which ends this weekend on Blair Mountain. Brownie’s last email from the trip to me is that it is “hotter than hell,” but onward he marches….continuing to do what he and NRCM have done for years – speaking up and speaking out about protecting our natural places. Speaking up for clean energy and for clean air. And doing so even when the conditions are tough. NRCM members, staff, and supporters are always willing to go that extra mile (or 50) to raise awareness of the importance of a clean and healthy environment.
– Beth Dimond, NRCM Public Affairs Coordinator