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DIVISION OF MINES

Mine Rescue Team Members


DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Chris Witt, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Chris Whitt is the Trainer for Virginia Mine Rescue and oversees team operation. He has spent twelve years at DMME as Emergency Manager and spent several years at various mining operations including 10 years of mine rescue service before joining the agency. Chris received his B.S. in Mining Engineering from Virginia Tech. He lives in Richlands with his wife, Melonie and daughter, Tessa and enjoys scenic motorcycle rides through the mountains.

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Ken Johnson, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

 

Ken Johnson is Co-Captain of Virginia Mine Rescue’s Big Stone Gap team. He has 39 years of mining experience and 17 years mine rescue experience. He attended Southwest Virginia Community College and Liberty University. Ken lives in Castlewood with his wife Becky and is the Pastor of Grace Alive church in Abingdon. He also hosts the TV program Grace Alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Anthony Sturgill, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

Anthony Sturgill began with the Virginia Mine Rescue Team in 2016 when the team originated. He serves as Captain of the Big Stone Gap team. Anthony received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in 2002. He has been with DMME for 15-years and serves in the coal mine safety technical section. He resides in Pound with his wife Rachel, their four children and two grandchildren. They enjoy spending time together as family, being involved in their children’s many sporting activities and consider fun times being outdoors fishing and hunting.

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Andy Sawyers, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Andy Sawyers is Co-Captain of Virginia Mine Rescue’s Lebanon team. He has 16 years of mining experience and nine years of mine rescue experience. Andy recieved a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Bluefield State College and an MBA from Liberty University. He lives in Tazewell with his wife Jill and their three children Maddy, Jaxson and Lyla. Andy and Jill are Youth Pastors at Life Church in Claypool Hill and Young Life Leaders in Tazewell. They love anything outdoors and spending time as a family. Vernon Johnson is a member of the team.

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Willie Cochran, DMM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Willie Cochran manages the stretcher for Virginia Mine Rescue’s Lebanon team. Willie has been with DMME the last 15 years as a Mineral Mining inspector. Before joining the agency, he spent ten years as a foreman and safety director at a quarry. Willie received his B.S. in Mining Engineering from Virginia Tech. He lives in Christiansburg with his wife Amy and three children, Todd, Cade and Caeley. He enjoys spending time with his family at church and outdoors and watching their sporting and music events.

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Dennis Honaker, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Dennis Honaker is the Map Man for Virginia Mine Rescue's Big Stone Gap Team. Dennis works at DMME as a coal mine safety inspector. Before joining the agency, he spent 20 years in the coal industry; 15 of those were with Alpha Natural Resources and then Contura Energy. Dennis also spent five years serving the Dickenson and Russell Mine Rescue team. Dennis lives in Russell County on a farm with his wife and two children. When they're not farming, they enjoy hunting, fishing and being outdoors as a family

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Joey Musick, DM
Photo credit: Mike Willis

 

 

Joey Musick is the Captain of the Virginia Mine Rescue Lebanon Team. Joey has been at DMME as a coal mine safety inspector for the last three years. Before joining the agency, Joey held several positions at Buchanan Minerals for eight years. He also served on the company’s mine rescue team for five years in various roles. He enjoys spending all his spare time with his family at the lake and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Rusty Ward, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Rusty Ward is a Briefing Officer for the Lebanon team and is an original member of Virginia Mine Rescue. Rusty has 15 years of experience at DMME as a Mine Safety Inspector and Mine Safety Specialist. He brings 37 years of mining experience to DMME including several as a Chief Electrician. Rusty has a degree in Pastoral Ministries and lives in Pounding Mill with his wife Karen. They enjoy spending time with their two children and four grandchildren. Rusty also enjoys spending time on the lake fishing with his family.

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Sideny Crabtree, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Sidney Crabtree serves as Virginia Mine Rescue Lebanon Team’s Mapman. When he is not competing or training with the team, Sidney is a coal mine safety inspector. He brings over ten years of experience in mine rescue to DMME. Previously he served on the team for Jewell Smokeless Coal Company. Sidney has an Associate's Degree in Electrical Electronics Technology and enjoys time with his family outdoors. He likes to hunt, fish and camp.

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Danny Mullins, DM
Photo credit: Mike Willis

 

 

Danny Mullins is a Gas Man on the Virginia Mine Rescue Big Stone Gap team and is an original member. For the last nine years, Danny has worked with DMME as a coal mine safety inspector. He has served DMME as a Mine Safety Inspector for the last nine years. Danny is from Dickenson County and served six years in the United States Marine Corps.

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Spencer Lee, DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

 

Spencer Lee is a member of the team.

 

 

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Hunter Atkins, DMM
Photo credit: Hunter Atkins

 

Hunter Atkins is an alternate and assists in First Aid to both Virginia Mine Rescue teams. He received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in mining engineering from Virginia Tech. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio for his first job working underground at a salt mine. While there, he assisted in the engineering department and held a supervisor's position. He then came home to Virginia and has since worked in and around various surface hard rock operations. Hunter's most recent endeavor in the mining industry has been as a Mineral Mining inspector.

 

 

DMME Mine Rescue Team Members

Vernon Johnson, Jr., DM
Photo credit: Tarah Kesterson

 

 

Vernon Johnson is a member of the team.