Twelve years later, his growing
Arnold says guests new and old will quickly see the changes the foundation's museum has been through in the past year, including the addition of truckloads of items donated by Rosebud Mining from the recently-closed Windber Coal Heritage Center in
"Our mission will always be to tell the story of the
Rosebud's donation has brought generations-old mining tools, such as lanterns, uniforms, pick axes and other items to Arnold's rescue museum.
It has brought other keepsakes, too, such as souvenirs from King Coal's heyday and even dinosaur fossils unearthed from coal seams, Arnold said.
He described the museum site and visitors center as a work-in-progress, but said both of its two levels are now in use.
Visitors will notice plenty of changes at the site since it opened three years ago, Arnold said.
His nonprofit foundation has built up the tribute site through years of donations -- and continues fundraising through its museum and online at quecreekrescue.org.
And TV cameras were rolling as all nine were pulled to safety, one-by-one, on the night of
The story still captivates and inspires, Arnold said.
The foundation's visitors center sees 10,000 visitors annually, he estimated, and the coming weeks are expected to be a busy time for his staff.
An annual flag ceremony will be held Saturday, when the nonprofit will retire this year's flag and add a new one.
Admission to the museum will be free all day and a cookout will be held on a deck alongside the building to celebrate the anniversary, Arnold said.
"We're telling people to bring the kids and enjoy it," he said.
"We're going to be here rain or shine to celebrate the mercies of God and that fabulous rescue 12 years ago."
Arnold said his foundation is looking for volunteers to help both inside and outside the museum and visitors center over the coming months. Those interested can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: Ceremony celebrating 12th anniversary of
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