Our dear friend and environmental hero, Larry Gibson, passed away this past Sunday. Larry was a close mentor of several of our members and it is with a heavy heart that we announce his passing.
In a strange twist of fate, a carload of us were able to make one last visit to Kayford Mountain just 2 weeks before Larry’s untimely death. We were traveling back from the Grand Aspirations August Gathering in Hartford, CT when we made a stop at Larry’s small piece of heaven surrounded by a man-made hell created by the practice of mountaintop removal mining. That last visit with Larry may have been a gift from God or perhaps it was just a lucky coincidence. Either way, we were blessed to have one last conversation with a man who inspired a generation of activists to fight to end the destruction of Appalachia.
It is hard to find words that bring closure to the gap in our hearts that was created in Larry’s passing. In the past week, we have found solace in continuing the work in our community. Since we returned from Kayford, we have been hard at work building a small deck and rain garden around the Peace Pole at United Church of Rogers Park. In some ways, it is a small memorial to a man that taught us to fight for the things that are important to us. Building peace at the corners of Morse and Ashland (our street intersection) is the fight we have taken up.
Larry listened to everyone that visited his mountain and made them feel like the most important people in the universe. He knew how to develop leaders better than any other person we have ever met. His fire lives on inside those of us at LETS GO Chicago who had the pleasure of meeting this mountain of a man.
We will keep fighting, Larry. May you rest in peace and may all your hopes for Appalachia be realized in our lifetime.
“We are the keepers of the mountains. Love them or leave them. Just don’t destroy them.”
If you dare to be one too, consider making a donation in memoriam to Larry’s foundation, Keeper of the Mountains.