(WSAZ Photo / Ryan Lake)
UPDATE 5/28/10 @ 10:15 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Country superstar Alan Jackson has donated thousands of dollars to the families of the fallen Upper Big Branch miners.
Employees with the Charleston Civic Center presented a check to the West Virginia Council of Churches on Friday. The proceeds were collected during the Alan Jackson concert last weekend in Charleston.
The concert raised more than $154,360.30 so they plan on giving each family $5,000 from the event. 7,200 people attended the concert.
Before the concert Jackson had a private meeting with the families. Jackson also invited more than 200 mine rescue workers to enjoy his concert.
The steel guitarist in Jackson's band is from Sylvester, West Virginia. He played a special instrumental song as the pictures of the 29 men lost in the explosion were displayed on the big screens.
The Council of Churches set up the fund for the miners' families after the April 5 blast in Raleigh County.
Reverend Dennis Sparks tells WSAZ.com so far the fund has raised nearly $700,000. The fund will be closed soon so the money can be distributed to the miners' families.
Jackson had a private meeting with the families, and is donating the proceeds of his concert to the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund.
"I'm not from the coal mining area. What little I know about it, it's a tough job anyway. Then tragedy like this comes, and makes it ten times worse. They need all the help they can get," said Jackson.
Jackson also invited more than 200 mine rescue workers to enjoy his concert Saturday evening.
Ticket prices for the concert were reduced to $20 to encourage more people to attend. Now, the West Virginia Council of Churches will divide the proceeds among the families.
"Alan Jackson is just like anyone else. His heart is touched. When the heart is touched you want to do something. He's doing it and we can't think him enough," said Reverend Dennis Sparks.
The steel guitarist in the band is from Sylvester, West Virginia. He played a special instrumental song as the pictures of the 29 men lost in the explosion were displayed on the big screens.