Special announcement for our Homer Hickam Newsletter friends.

As promised in our last missive, I have endowed the RED HELMET/HOMER HICKAM, SR. Marshall University Scholarship Program. The scholarship, named for my novel of the Appalachian coalfields and my father, is for the children of coal miners with an emphasis on mine rescue team members. My dad helped organize some of the first professionally-trained mine rescue teams in the country and RED HELMET is dedicated to "Mine Rescue Teams Everywhere."

Why this scholarship? Let's face it. Miners are ignored by the national media unless there's been a disaster. And as far as the government is concerned, they might as well be invisible. Yet, miners are what I call the "essential Americans," those who do the hard work for our country and sustain our economy on their backs. But unlike the children of so many special interest groups, the children of miners are given very little assistance to go to college. For the most part, they're on their own.

So I guess it's up to us to help out. Please go to and give what you can. Even $25 will help. Can you imagine if every Homer Hickam Newsletter reader gives even this small amount? Many kids, who desperately want to go to college AND deserve to go, will have the opportunity. These are not students who just sit back and wait for a handout, either. To be eligible for the scholarship, they must have worked hard through high school to prepare themselves. Believe me, they will deserve this helping hand.

And while you're on my site, please also take a moment to click on the NATIONAL MINERS DAY page and sign the petition to create a special day for these "Essential Americans." I would be most appreciative and so will miners across the country.

A little RED HELMET news. Although so many bookstores got ahead and started selling it early, Feb. 5 remains the official publication date of my new love story of the Appalachian coalfields.

Although I'm mostly doing national media events for RED HELMET, I am making some limited appearances at bookstores. Check the website to see where they will be. Here's some scheduled appearances:

Thursday, February 21
6pm Booksmith, Birmingham, AL

Sunday, February 24
1pm Barnes & Noble, Jones Valley, Huntsville, AL

Friday February 29
1pm Tamarack Beckley WV
5pm Hearthside Books Bluefield WV

Saturday March 1
1pm Empire Books Huntington WV
6pm Taylor Books Charleston WV

Monday, March 10
6pm David-Kidd Nashville TN

Thursday, March 27
7 pm Festival of the Book, Charlottesville VA

One more thing. I've written the notes for Kathy Mattea's new album COAL which will be out in April. We'll be making some joint RED HELMET/COAL appearances. Keep watch on for more information as it develops.

But mainly, please help me with the RED HELMET/HOMER HICKAM, SR. scholarship at Marshall University and the NATIONAL MINERS DAY campaign. You will have my everlasting appreciation if you do.

Your friend,

Homer Hickam

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