SOMERSET, Pa.—Every single day Thomas ''Tucker'' Foy thinks back to the 77 hours he spent underground, fighting for his life after a flood trapped him and eight other coal miners on June 24, 2002.
''Some days are better than others and I try and take life one day at a time,'' the tough-as-nails coal miner says. ''It's not the physical stuff that's hard it's my nerves and stuff.''
Every single day Bill and Lori Arnold think about the nine miners trapped 240 feet below a cow pasture on the edge of their dairy farm.
The couple plans a memorial there that includes a visitors center, a re-creation of the mine, 31 life-size bronze sculptures of rescue workers and a 7-foot bronze sculpture of a miner.
So far, the Arnolds have raised only $10,000 toward its $2.3 million cost. Each day, it seems, their task gets harder.
''The further from the rescue, people are less and less committed,'' Bill Arnold said. ''They don't want to dedicate as much time and money to it and it's falling back on my family to do.''
A year after the improbable rescue of the Quecreek Nine, some people here, especially the miners, are trying to get past the horrors and stress of those desperate 77 hours -- and get on with their lives.
But others, such as the Arnolds, are trying to hold onto the miracle they say brought people together and reaffirmed their faith in God -- and hold off a growing tide of apathy and controversy.
Several of the miners are suing the mining company, arguing officials should have known an abandoned mine filled with millions of gallons of water was closer than old maps indicated; an insurance company is threatening to cut off the miner's workers' compensation benefits because of the $150,000 they received for a subsequent television movie; one of the rescuers, Robert Long, became embroiled in a war of words with the miners and committed suicide in June.
''There's lawyers trying to get rich over this,'' snarled Ed Popernack, the father of miner Mark ''Moe'' Popernack. ''They're like vultures going over a mess of bones.''
Today, and for the next several days, there will be events and festivities at the Arnolds' farm and in nearby Windber at the Coal Heritage Center to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the rescue, which started on July 24 and ended on July 28.
At the heart of every celebration will be the miners. Their fame may be fading as time ticks by, but for now, especially in economically depressed Somerset County, their star shines brightly.
Joseph Sbaffoni is determined ''nothing bad comes out of Quecreek.''
He was chief of the Bituminous Mine Safety Division of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Deep Mine Safety during the rescue. In most mine disasters, he said, the end result is dead miners.
''I want Quecreek to remain a positive,'' Sbaffoni said. ''To go through something like that to see all nine come out alive when most outcomes aren't so good well, anyone who doesn't say it affected their heart and soul isn't human.''
Over the past 12 months, the miners -- hard-working, God-fearing, tobacco-chewing, family men -- have proven to be all too human. Most are dealing with some form of post-traumatic stress syndrome, exhibiting symptoms of flashbacks, fear, guilt, sleeping and eating problems.
''Quite a few of us are doctoring'' is how Ron ''Hound Dog'' Hileman put it.