Coal Miners Memorial gets upgrade

A downtown Harlan landmark is getting a face lift through the efforts of one of the participants in the Rogers Scholars program.

Emersyn Noah, a Rogers Scholars participant and Harlan High School student, has decided to do a beautification project as part of her Rogers Scholars experience, focusing on the Coal Miners Memorial on the Harlan Courthouse lawn.

“As a requirement for the completion of the Rogers Scholars program, they wanted us to complete a community service project,” Noah said. “I had to come up with a project idea and get support from others in the community to complete the project, so I decided I wanted to complete a beautification project for the Coal Miners Memorial monument.”

Noah had a specific reason to choose the monument.

“Over the years, I’ve visited the monument because my grandfather’s name is on it,” Noah said. “I wanted to do something significant.”

According to Noah, part of the plan includes planting flowers around the monument.

“I picked red roses to plant around the monument,” Noah said.

She said she picked red roses to symbolize sacrifice.

“We’re also putting a layer of coal into the beds,” Noah said.

Noah partnered with the Harlan County Fiscal Court to accomplish the project, which she expects to have completed in approximately two weeks.

“I’m going to invite everybody to come look at it when it’s finished,” Noah said.

According to a Center for Rural Development website at, “Rogers Scholars—The Center for Rural Development’s flagship youth program—provides leadership and college scholarship opportunities to help upcoming high school juniors in Southern and Eastern Kentucky develop the skills they need to seize their potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders. During this intensive week-long program, Rogers Scholars work on building their leadership skills, participate in a series of team-building exercises; receive hands-on instructional training from professional experts in engineering, healthcare, and video production; and interact with nationally recognized business leaders and entrepreneurs. The program focuses on developing skills in leadership, technology, entrepreneurship, and community service.”