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The US coal industry cratered after WWII. I became very interested in coal as an undergraduate geologist. During my first year of graduate school, I recognized the name of one of a handful of internationally recognized coal geologists, on an employment opportunity posted on a bulletin board at school. I applied, interviewed, and was hired for the duration of an exploratory drilling project.

This proved the best career decision of my career. This man schooled and mentored me. He not only gave me my first job, but he ligned me up for my second, and then my third job. Because of his reputation as much as my own performance, I became exploration manager for a major coal company at a much too young age.

My friend will be 98 in November. This stick was presented to him by another old friend on his 70th wedding anniversary, in the presence of his three children and their spouses. The surprise presentation was delayed at their request, so they would all be present. My friend and mentor is on the left.

I embedded a polished slice of coal, a trilobite, a Rotary Club past-president pin, and three geological society pins. The grip is suede leather lace. Looks like he liked it.

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