The Best Way To Honor Larry Gibson’s Incredible Life Is To Continue Spreading His Powerful Message

Written by Mike G

Topics: Action, Learn

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Larry Gibson was a true hero.

One of the most important things we can do to honor the incredible life Larry lived is keep fighting: continue fending off King Coal, protecting our air, our mountains, our water, our climate and our communities.

You can help by sharing one of these images below. Larry set a powerful example for us all to live up to, and it’s up to us to make sure that his message lives on and his struggle continues. We can do that by spreading the story of his life and what he stood for.

Click on an image to go to Facebook and share it. Or you can share this post using the buttons above.

Larry Gibson: "I'm not collateral damage."

Read more about Larry’s life and his impact on many countless activists, including RAN’s own Scott Parkin, in this post: “Remembering Appalachia’s Mountain Keeper, Larry Gibson.”

Larry was the founder of the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, set up to train people from the mountain community to do what Larry did—find their voices, share their stories and grow the movement. To ensure Larry’s work lives on we are asking that you donate to Keeper of the Mountains today.

The first time I met Larry in person was at a breakfast the day before the Bank of America shareholder meeting back in May. I went into that meeting thinking I would get a quote from each of the coal-impacted community members we’d brought to the meeting for use on Facebook. As it happens I ended up sitting right next to Larry and the first thing we did was go around and say who we were, what we do, etc. When it was Larry’s turn to speak he spoke for much longer than everyone else—which I would later discover was just how he was: Once Larry got going, he really got going. And of course, what he said was incredibly inspiring, full of passion, full of conviction. I wrote down something he said and made a note to ask him afterwards if he was cool with me using that as a quote.

Then it was Q&A time and someone asked a colleague of mine what the likelihood of them getting kicked out of the meeting and/or not being allowed to speak was. Larry piped up almost immediately to let everyone know that he WAS going to be heard, period. He had come to talk, and goddammit the execs at BofA were going to listen. That’s when he said, “They tell us we’re collateral damage. Well I ain’t collateral damage. I’m somebody. My name is Larry Gibson.”

I immediately scratched out the quote I had from before and wrote that down instead. Then I put it on a photo I found on Flickr and we posted it on Facebook and it went on to get thousands of likes and shares—more than anything else we’ve posted on FB so far this year, if I’m not mistaken. Even more than finger monkeys, if you can believe that.

It is truly astounding how many people Larry reached and influenced. I contacted the person who took the photo, which I found on Flickr, and I used the Flickr messaging system to do it. I did not expect a response in time for the next morning. But within an hour of sending the message I immediately got a message back. Turns out the pic was taken by a school teacher in Ohio who had taken his class to Kayford Mountain, and was more than happy to let us use his photo. He said that he and his class were hugely inspired by Larry and it was his pleasure to do anything he could to help Larry out and spread Larry’s message.

RIP Larry. You’re already missed, but you’ll never be truly gone.

12 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mary-Kay says:

    Larry certainly led an inspiring life – I like the quote very much where he says “I am somebody. I am Larry Gibson”. We all get caught up in believing that we cannot beat/change the Establishment and this man proves that is not so – he is up in heaven thinking of a way to carry on his work!!!!

  2. Jacqueline Bobnick says:

    We need more people like Larry to speak out. Larry is right, we are not collateral damage!

  3. I live in a small town in Penna,They are coal Minning here too. When they blast, It shakes the whole House Trailer,even have damage to it from them,even got in contact with their boss& E.P.A. that are supose to help us.,But they stuck up for coal Minning,guess they are get pay under table.Then on top got hold of my ins company,no help there either.So now I live in a very mold trailer&sinking,because when they blast,it shakes up everything,& has porches lending. But no one cares,& now I have COPD, & I was find till they came here.Each day my sickness get worst.,So you keep on fighting& hope someone can help.
    Thank you for Hearing me out.

  4. Sallie Kate Park says:

    Larry Gibson was from my home state, West Virginia and he will be sorely missed. Larry was a David fighting the Goliath of big coal and their political collaborators. We must all keep up the good fight to save our remaining “beautiful hills” throughout the US, to save our precious planet.

  5. Larry Gibson was from my home state of W.Va and will be sorely missed. Larry was a Giant fighting the Goliath of big coal and their political collaborators. Please make sure that his home and mountain will be preserved. We must all join the fight to save our precious planet.

  6. What a legend, fair play to Mr. Larry Gibson, and to all who stand and speak out for justice and sanity against senseless destruction in the name of illusory profit and insatiable greed.

    When a hero falls, a hundred more will rise, nothing nor anyone can stop truth and justice, balance and harmony will be restored, it starts with us and permeates our world. Find the balance, and demand that truth be known and justice be served wherever you find yourself.

    Peace and power from Éireann. (Ireland)

  7. Joe nowak says:

    What started at Kayford Mountain, is now a worldwide movement against all fossil fuels. The voices of universal outrage were there, though surpressed. But it took a few voices, united in purpose, to ignite a movement whose forces are being felt everywhere.

    Larry, and those that stood beside him, could have hardly envisioned the universal explosion they would ignite.

    Best, Joe

  8. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for the article Mike.

  9. Larry Cosgrave says:

    Nice story – sad for us all that his energy is no longer visible.

  10. Felicia says:

    Sending blessings to Larry Gibson all his family and all who knew and loved him. Honoring Larry for a beautiful, life well and purposely lived.
    Your legacy Larry is strong and wonderful
    Loving you and all the love you put into speaking for tirelessly holding fast to the preservation of the Sovereign Lady Mountains on the Body of this planet Earth.
    I feel the song of your Soul (believe it or not) now more than ever.
    Thank you thank you Wisdom Elder Larry Gibson
    Big Warm Love
    Silver Moon Dolphin

  11. Barbara Hegedus says:

    Any company who would do this to a part of our precious earth is beyond despicable. And so is Bank of America for it’s huge support in destroying our environment!

  12. Joseph Walsh, Jr. says:

    I think the best tribute to Larry can be found in the song, “Go Rest High on that Mountain”,

    Go rest high on that mountain
    Son your work on Earth is done
    Go to Heav’n a-shoutin’
    Love for the Father and the Son

    Rest well, Larry, and Godspeed to his legacy, his family, and the fight against mountaintop mining!

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