THE ENGINEER BEHIND THE CHILEAN MINERS’ RESCUE

Last week the most read post on this blog was “The Story Behind the Chilean Miners’ Jesus T-Shirts.” I confess that my busyness at the end of the previous week kept me from being alert to this story.  Then on the weekend several of my younger adult friends (many of whom are busier than I) began to reference it in their Facebook pages.  Dianne and I were channel surfing the night of the rescue and came upon the drama as the 33rd miner was about to be placed in the “Phoenix” for his ride to the surface. I am now keeping watch on the follow-up to see what happens to these men after their traumatic ordeal underground.

The survival of the miners below ground was the result of incredible teamwork and the leadership of their shift foreman Luis Urza.  But we are discovering that the rescue was made possible by another hero, a straight-talking engineer named Andre Sougarret. (Read this great story on YAHOO.) Afterwards, Andre would say: “I always said that if these people are alive and I have contact with them and I can get food to them, they could spend a year (below) and nothing will happen to them. It was a question of time.”

Andre Sougarett

There was much talk during the rescue about controlling the information reaching the miners to keep them from becoming demoralized about how long the rescue would take.

But Sougarret always told them the truth.  Urzua, the shift foreman, had this to say as he hugged the man who saved the 33: “You always gave us the straight talk, always speaking the truth.”

Speaking the truth is always the best strategy for helping others through perilous times. It reminds me of some vital words from the Bible, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

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