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Mississippi Lime Company mine rescue team wins big at Annual Rescue Competition


Mississippi Lime’s mine rescue team finished first place overall at the 35th Annual Mine Rescue Competition held at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri in mid-September. In addition to earning first overall, the rescue team also won “Best in Missouri,” first place in the bench contest and first place in the field competition.

Mississippi Lime Company’s mine rescue team competed against 24 other rescue teams from companies and universities in events ranging from written tests to disaster simulations. Five of these teams have experience competing at the national level.

“I’m incredibly proud of our accomplishments, especially considering the experienced teams we were up against,” said captain Kyle Clark, who has represented Mississippi Lime for more than a decade. “We knew this year would be the toughest year yet.”

Clark added, “In the end, this competition isn’t really about the medals and achievements. One of our main goals is to look out for our fellow employees and rescuers and keep them safe in times of emergency.”

Mississippi Lime Company’s mine rescue team is a group of volunteer employees at the Ste. Genevieve site who are specially trained to recover employees in the event of a mining incident.

Bill Ayers, president and CEO of Mississippi Lime Company, congratulated the mine rescue team. “This competition was an outstanding success not just for our mine rescue team. Our team’s accomplishments speak to our company’s commitment to safety in the workplace.”

Maricell Frazier, director of safety for Mississippi Lime, brought attention to the mine rescue team’s camaraderie: “A successful mine rescue team takes not only dedicated and skilled employees, it also takes a special team chemistry to execute under times of extreme stress. This team has that special chemistry.”

Mississippi Lime’s team includes: Kyle Clark, Mike Wolf, Charlie Gegg, Zack Duncan, Jared Boland, Pat Nichols and John Miller. The trainers are Ed Staffen, Alan Schilli and Jesse Gegg.

During the closing awards ceremony, veteran Mississippi Lime mine rescuer and trainer Ed Staffen was inducted into the Missouri Metal and Nonmetal Mine Rescue Hall of Fame. Staffen spent many years working and training with the mine rescue team to help make it the team it is today.

“To say it is an honor to be inducted into the Missouri Mine Rescue Hall of Fame would be an understatement,” said Staffen, who is retiring after 40 years. “There are many people in the hall of fame who I look up to and who inspire me. To be a part of the hall of fame with these individuals is a privilege.”

The Missouri Metal and Nonmetal Mine Rescue Hall of Fame was created in the 1990s to honor and highlight the achievements of exceptional mine rescuers. Staffen’s name will be inscribed on a trophy and displayed at national mine rescue contests.

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