MOUNT VERNON – Cline Resources Group LLC and M Class Mining LLC presented Rend Lake College with a $100,000 gift during the RLC Foundation’s Annual Dinner Meeting, Dec. 4, in Mt. Vernon.
The funding will shore up financial shortfalls the college has encountered in its multi-million dollar renovation of the RLC mining technology program. While presenting a check to RLC Interim President Charley Holstein, Barry Hale said the company is excited to be in a position to help.
“It’s been a real exciting evening,” said Hale, President of Operations for M Class Mining. “To see the attitudes in the room, the people, and how they really care about Rend Lake College; it really makes you feel good! These people are fantastic. They truly believe in what they are doing and they are putting their all into it. It makes us appreciate the chance to help.”
College administrators are just as excited. The construction of a 20,000-square-feet training center on the campus in Ina has RLC in position to be the training leader for the Mid-West mining industry. Just months from now, the state-of-the-art facility is expected to be ready with cutting-edge equipment for new miner and miner refresher training.
“The resurgence of coal in Southern Illinois and the opportunity for Rend Lake College to provide coal mining training to support the resurgence is exciting,” Holstein said.
He explained that after encountering several financial shortfalls that could threaten the quality of the program, college officials approached the RLC Foundation and local experts, such as Don McBride from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Mines and Minerals.
“We quickly developed a plan and began to meet with leaders in the coal mining industry,” Holstein added. “We showed them the quality of the facility we are building and convinced them that Rend Lake College is positioned to provide them a quality, trained workforce. We asked for their financial support to ensure the facility is nothing less than state-of-the-art.”
M Class Mining is in the construction phase of becoming a mining complex, preparation plant and train loadout in Franklin County. Joining Hale in the check presentation were fellow M Class Mining LLC officials Tim Kirkpatrick, manager of purchasing and safety; Barrett Fox, vice president of operations; and Thomas Workman, controller.
After announcing the lead gift from Cline Resources, Holstein said, “Although we still have more work to do and more gifts to garner, we truly appreciate the generosity and faith in Rend Lake College that Cline Resources has demonstrated.”
Hale likened the excitement to a scene from ‘Remember the Titans.’ It’s a film about a high school football team’s perfect season and how it united a town in turmoil from federally-forced desegregation.
“I don’t know if any of you are sports fans,” Hale said to the banquet of college administrators, staff, faculty and supporters. “But the movie ... the famous scene where attitude reflects leadership ... These guys have the leadership,” he said, gesturing to the individuals seated at the head table. “And you guys have the attitude.”
Among those at the head table were Board of Trustees Member Marvin Scott, Holstein, RLC Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jim Kelly, RLC Foundation CEO Pat Kern, retired RLC President Mark S. Kern, and 2008 Alumnus of the Year and RLCF Board Member Randy Rubenacker.