Good Samaritans help Kittitas veteran move big piles of rock

KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash. -- A Kittitas veteran came across some good Samaritans over the weekend.

Tony Nicholas has been trying to remove a big pile of rocks that fell in front of his mine four years ago. But he faced obstacle after obstacle that prevented it from happening.

State representative Manweller stepped in and took matter into his own hands.

The sound of teamwork never echoed so loud. And kindness has never been so contagious.

"They did more in one day than I got done in four years," said miner Tony Nicholas.

Tony Nicholas has a hole in his throat and uses a voice box device to speak. He told KIMA he's been trying to use machinery to remove rocks that fell in front of his mine four years ago. But he faced obstacles with the U.S Forest Service.

"From mitigation plans to bonding to retaining walls to replanting species," said State Representative Matt Manweller.

KIMA asked the Cle Elum District Ranger why so many steps were required. Mary Maj told KIMA the agency has an obligation to follow a process. That's because Tony's mineral claim is on public land.

"What's the operation? What's the interest? How are they going to operate? Their time period and then our response to 'are there other concerns out there?" said Maj.

This process applies to everyone. Maj says you are allowed to manually remove rocks because it's considered safer and the ground wouldn't be altered as much.

"We had exhausted every appeal that we could think of, every argument and we were just sitting around here and said you know what the only way those rocks are ever going to get moved is if I went up there with a shovel and it was like well..." said Manweller.

State Representative Matt Manweller helped find dozens of volunteers to help Tony. After three hours, the rocks were moved.

"For me, that is something that I cannot explain," said Tony. "Just like, I didn't know how to thank those people. There's not enough words that I can use to thank those people.

Tony's tools and machinery were also impounded. The U.S Forest Service says Tony's mining claim wasn't compliant. So they informed him his tools had to be removed by a certain date.

Tony says he never received a notice.