Kansas City Chiefs RB Thomas Jones is never shy when talking about the work his parents did in mines while he was growing up in Virginia. Now Jones is lending his voice to the “Stay Out/Stay Alive” campaign warning people about the dangers of abandoned mines.
“I know how dangerous these quarries, caves and abandoned mines can be,” Jones said in a teleconference call Friday. “This is not a glamorous cause, but this is a serious situation and it’s close to me because I lived it.”
Jones said one of his brothers’ friends drove an ATV into an abandoned mine shaft. He had to undergo reconstructive surgery on his face, but still ended up with a disfigured nose.
And Jones himself once became lost in a cave when his flash light went out.
“When you’re a kid, you don’t realize the dangers,” Jones said. “The inside of a cave or mine is a whole different world. You may get stuck in there and nobody knows where you are.”
There is a reason why celebrities are used for PSAs, but rarely do they offer more than a familiar face for a cause they have no direct connection to. In Jones’ case, you know that he has been around the mining community his whole life, giving him credibility with those that live in towns supported by mining. He also will get the message out to people like me that know very little about mining.
The program is already paying dividends, because I now know that there are mines in every state in the country.