Chilean miner visits Seton Hall

Mario Sepulveda, one of 32 survivors of the collapsed Chilean mine from this fall, visited the Seton Hall campus today.

He addressed members of the media during a press conference at 2 p.m. on Thursday, along with Dr. Jean-Christophe Romagnoli via Skype who assisted the miners during their entrapment and rescue and the Consul General of Chile in New York, Hon. Juilo Fiol.

Sepulveda greeted the audience, by saying through a translator, “I love smiling, I like to be happy,” he said. “More now that I have had a second chance that God gave me.”

Sepulveda is visiting the University to discuss his experiences and the creation of his foundation, Miner’s Miracle, which in collaboration with the University will benefit those affected by the Chilean earthquake and the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Seton Hall will be offering a monetary donation to Miner’s Miracle.

One of the main focuses of the organization is working towards helping rebuild homes in Chile. Sepulveda noted that the situation in Chile is now is a very critical situation. Many families lost their homes due the earthquake and he hopes to give back to these hardworking families by giving them a place to live.

The partnership between Seton Hall and Miner’s Miracle is in the process of organizing a trip for students to participate in the rebuilding of homes in Chile and also to give students the opportunity to learn the way of life in Chile.

So far the project has raised enough to build 16 houses ranging from 10 to 12 thousand dollars.

Sepulveda noted he is a country person, and that’s where the idea for Miner’s Miracle came from, to help people from the countryside.

“For good things in the world we must work for the people,” Sepulveda said.

The organization also wants to start working to assist the people of Japan. Sepulveda said he just started doing this but hopes to travel to Japan and shake hands with people. He added that he wants Miner’s Miracle to be a voice of hope for the people of Japan.

Fiol mentioned the state of Chile before and after the incident. He said most of the world cried upon finding out the miners were alive down there, he said their rescue was a joint, international effort.

“It came out well because everyone was committed to success,” Fiol said.

He added that in President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Chile he noted the collaboration is the way business should be done.

All of the miners have chosen to do different things with their lives following the rescue, Sepulveda said, but his personal case has been to help with this project.

“The love towards my fellow miners is present, they are in my heart,” he said.

Romagnoli, who could not be here due to issues with his visa, said he has not had chance to keep in touch with many of the miners, but traveled with them to Manchester City. He understands that some of them are dealing with some stress and psychological problems that stem from the instant fame they have experienced.

The amount Seton Hall will be giving to Miner’s Miracle will be disclosed at the event.

Nicole Bitette can be reached

Author: Staff Writer

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