An artist’s rendering of the proposed mine worker memorial. The project has secured $70,000 in funding.
Courtesy photo

A memorial to honor mine workers proposed for Socorro has secured $70,000 in funding from the state legislature.

After the appropriations process was complete, the project had secured $70,000 of the original $350,000 allocated.

The memorial would be a statue honoring different mine workers, with figures modeled after real mine workers and mine owners. The statue would be built on the New Mexico Tech campus near the Mineral Museum.

Michael Pino, an organizer behind the project, has been trying to lock-in funding for the sculpture for six years, with the help of Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, who has sponsored funding the memorial three separate times.

Pino said that he and Senator Ortiz Y Pino will both keep working to secure enough funding to build the memorial. The $70,000 allocated this legislative session has to be used within three years, so Ortiz Y Pino will attempt to appropriate more state money for the project next year.

Michael Pino will continue to approach New Mexico mining companies, asking them to pitch in funds for the project. They will also try to get support from the United Mine Workers of America, which has helped publicize the project.

“The memorial is of significance to the area and to the miners and we’re going to proceed with it next year again,” said Pino. “The $70,000 that we got this year will be rolled into next year, and we’ll be able to use that to start that off with.”

Pino believes the project could be a draw for visitors and benefit local tourism.

“Our little town needs help very badly, and the county needs help. One thing that would help us out would be tourism,” he said.

Pino is grateful for Ortiz y Pino’s help.

“Senator Ortiz y Pino is just top notch. He loves the people of New Mexico, and when I told him about our economic situation down here, he just jumped right in to help us. We all are going to owe a big debt of thanks to the senator—we really are. He stuck it out with us this whole time.”