"I would go with Brent on these trips and he would be so into the law for coal miners that it was like being at a baseball game with him. He loved this type of law and teaching us everything he could about it," Mortensen said. "He loved mine workers and he wanted to make sure we all learned as much as we could about how to keep these people and their families protected."
"The families of the Crandall Canyon miners and the rescuers who died deserve to have someone looking out for their rights and best interests," Mortensen said. "That is why we are there. It's important that the loved ones of these men are not abandoned and that they receive any Social Security or death benefits -- if it comes to that."
Mortensen puts particular emphasis on helping the families who are originally from Mexico. Having served an LDS mission to Mexico, he understands the culture and speaks fluent Spanish.
Mortensen acknowledged that he and other attorneys will, at the appropriate time, conduct an independent investigation into the accident that has ripped apart an entire community. But now he and his colleagues are joining together with the families in hopes that the miners will be found alive.
"A seventh bore hole is being dug into the lunch room area of the mine," Mortensen said. "Once that hole is complete they will send down the camera in hopes of finding signs of life."
The lunch room is a logical place for the miners to be.
"The miners would probably have gone there because that is the place where everyone put their lunches and there probably is food and water there. It's a place where they could still possibly be found alive."
While the gut-wrenching search continues, Mortensen and the families continue to form a bond. This bond, Mortensen said, makes the pain of these families even more difficult to experience.
"These are wonderful people," he said. "To see them suffering such an awful ordeal is sad. But as we get to know them on a personal level it makes this that much more difficult. We grieve with these families and we can feel the pain they are going through.
"You start to imagine if this was your family. Imagining the anguish and pain of not knowing about your loved one is terrible."
The community has been a major source of emotional and financial support for the families of the miners and the dead rescuers.
"This area is full of wonderful people who have pulled together to help these families in any way they can," Mor-tensen said. "They have raised all kinds of money for them and have been there to offer whatever help is needed. I believe the community will continue to support these families as the days go on."
But at some point the search will end. If the time comes and the Mining Safety and Health Administration considers all hope gone, the miners will be declared dead and Mortensen hopes Bob Murray, owner of the Crandall Canyon mine, will respect the site as a cemetery.
"If the bodies of these men cannot be retrieved, we would hope no more coal would be mined here and Mr. Murray would consider the site a cemetery," Mortensen said.
Murray returned to his Ohio home on Monday.
If all hope is lost, Mor-tensen will then help his clients retrieve whatever is rightfully theirs.
"We are holding out hope with the families that the miners are alive," Mortensen. "If it turns out they have passed away, then we will begin the process of our investigation."
For now, however, each night the families and Mor-tensen and his colleagues gather at a non-denominational church to pray for the loved ones not yet accounted for and others suffering due to the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster.
"We're there right now to be together, pray together and cry together."
And hope together.