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Mastermind of Chilean miner rescue looks to become deacon next year
Greg and Angie Hall / The rescue operation in Chile
Greg and Angie Hall / The rescue operation in Chile

.- On Wednesday, the world watched in anticipation as 33 Chilean miners finally began to emerge through a narrow shaft, drilled half a mile below the earth. The extraordinary man who helped save them, Drillers Supply International co-owner Greg Hall, is also training to become a deacon in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston next February.

CNA spoke to his wife Angelica Hall (with whom he runs Drillers Supply) on Wednesday, about her husband's service to the Church, and the role their Catholic faith had played in helping them plan the rescue.

While the trapped miners were surviving on food rations lowered into a shaft too small to pull them to safety, Greg Hall was working --and praying-- to determine how a larger opening could be drilled. “We're prayerful people,” Angelica Hall remarked. “Prayer is a part of our daily life … and part of our community at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church.”

Mrs. Hall explained that her husband's drilling supply company, which opened its Chilean branch in 1993, normally provided the supplies for gold, copper and silver mines. But in almost 25 years of business, she said, “this is the first time that we were involved in a mine rescue.”

“There was a crossover from Greg's expertise and drilling in Chile, (and) what our parts and our drill pipe could do,” she explained. Hall's engineering expertise “was able to cross over in making a shaft to get to the miners.”

The unprecedented rescue took months of planning, since even the smallest error or miscalculation could have caused rocks to slide or cave in-- trapping the miners forever. Mrs. Hall said her husband was grateful to play his part, having volunteered his expertise after initially hearing that a rescue was unlikely.

“He's kind of a take-action guy,” she told CNA. “We try to help if we have the skills and the talents to help.” Both faith and service to others, she said, “have been a part of our entire marriage.”

The same risk-taking spirit will lead Mr. Hall to become Deacon Hall, on February 12 next year. His wife recalled how her husband was first “an usher-greeter, then he was a lector,” before being asked “if he'd ever considered the diaconate.” She said that although her husband hadn't thought about it, “we just went forward in faith a step at a time.”

“Our formation has been six years and we're in the last semester. Hopefully, Greg will be ordained February 12th.”

With everything going on, she said, her family's life had been “quite an amazing ride.”

Noting the Biblical significance of 33 miners being pulled alive from their potential tomb after a 33 day drilling operation, Mrs. Hall told CNA that “the significance of that number” --the same number of years Jesus lived before his death and resurrection-- “has not been lost on us.”

She expressed amazement and gratitude that the opportunity to save dozens of lives had emerged in the ordinary course of “our everyday walk,” a fact that she said is proof that “God uses ordinary people in their ordinary lives.”


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