Funerals Begin for Victims of W.Va. Mine Blast

Benny Willingham, 62, a miner more than 30 years, was only weeks from retirement when he was killed in a blast in a Montcoal, W. Va. coal mine 004510. At least 24 others also perished. CBS

About 300 mourners have packed a church in West Virginia as funerals start for some of the 25 victims killed in a mine explosion.

The Rev. Gary Pollard of Mullens Worship Center said Friday that Benny Willingham was going to be remembered for his generosity and how he lived his life for God. Willingham recently gave a used car to a stranger and was known for other acts of kindness.

Willingham was a Vietnam veteran and became a Christian 19 years ago this week. He was a miner for over 30 years.

Willingham's funeral is one of several scheduled Friday.

More on the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion:

Fire, Smoke in W.Va. Mine Halt Rescue Effort
Rescue Halted as Mine Air Turns "Explosive"
Four Miners Still Missing
Photos: W. Va. Mine Explosion
Mining Company was Cited on Day of Blast
Miners' Families Cling to "Sliver of Hope"
Mine Worker: "There are no Safe Mines"
Coal Mine CEO Blankenship's Revealing Tweets
W. Va. Coal Mine Blast: The Victims
Recent Fatal U.S. Mine Disasters
Mines not Paying Fines a Familiar Story
Gov.: "No Excuse" for Mine Safety Flaws
Eerie Statement from Miner Killed in Blast
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