Documentary, memorial honor men of Mather B

The students, advisory and support staff at the Negaunee High School and on the Marquette Iron Range involved in the planning and production of a documentary film about iron ore mining — specifically work at the former Mather B mine — and associated memorial deserve accolades for a job well done.

The film, “A Vanishing Breed: The Men and Memories of the Mather B,” was unveiled last week at a ceremony at the high school, where the mine was once located. It honors the men who worked and lost their lives at the Mather B and its associated properties, the Mather A Mine and the Ore Improvement Plant.

“Sacred ground. Our students at Negaunee High go to school on sacred ground,” digital writing teacher and event organizer Andy Skewis said to a large crowd who attended the ceremony. “The Negaunee Miners literally attend school at a mine.”

You talk about a community effort. The memorial, a commemorative plaque and a sculpture, both hang at the entrance of the school. Students from Skewis digital writing class designed the memorial and produced the documentary while recently graduated student, Davis Vagle, forged the sculpture.

Meanwhile, the United Steelworkers Local 4950 and 4974, the Marquette Iron Range Retirees Club and Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. chipped in and helped to fund the project.

“I don’t know that any memorial ever adequately represents the sacrifices that they bring about,” Skewis said, “but hopefully what the students created here will do a little to help our school and community remember that this truly is sacred ground.”

What an outstanding effort involving a large number of people focused on a single goal. Some people we know in Lansing and Washington could learn a thing or two from their example.