The King's music soothed Chilean miners
By Bob Mehr
Elvis Presley has made a cameo in the week’s big news story, the plight of the trapped Chilean miners.
According to onsite reports from San Jose, Chile, Edison Peña, one of the miners brought to safety on Wednesday, is a self-described Elvis fanatic.

In mid-September, word of Pena’s passion for Presley reached Memphis and officials at Elvis Presley Enterprises. “We heard the news reports that he was an
Elvis fan and that a picture of Elvis had gone down into the mine,” said EPE spokesman Kevin Kern.

“At that point we discreetly liaised with some folks in Chile and found out where we could send a box of Elvis goodies — some DVDs, CDs, a pair of Elvis
sunglasses. Whatever could fit into the tube and provide some entertainment and comfort. So we did that quietly, as we didn’t want to appear as if we were
moving in on a tragedy.”

Peña, 34, and his comrades put the presents to good use entertaining themselves with sing-a-longs as they awaited their rescue.
That moment finally arrived for Peña on Wednesday, when he was lifted to safety.

In celebration, Elvis Presley Enterprises, in conjunction with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, has extended Peña an invitation for an all-expenses
paid trip to visit Memphis and Presley’s home, Graceland.

“We had the idea to invite him to Graceland all along and now that he has made it up out of the mine safe, this is a happy ending to a sad situation,” said
Kern. “When he feels up to it, we’ll welcome him to Graceland with open arms and make him feel like a rock star.

Pena, the 12th miner to be rescued, looked fit and exuberant as he emerged Wednesday. "He's just a true blue Elvis fan," Kern said. "I can only imagine that
Graceland would be the trip of a lifetime."

Kern suggested the best time for Pena's visit would be after Christmas decorations go up "inside and out" at Graceland on November 19. They stay up until
Presley's birthday on January 8, he said.

"He's welcome to come whenever he feels up to it," Kern said. He would stay in luxury at the historic Peabody Hotel -- known for its trained ducks -- in
downtown Memphis, he said.

Pena would "experience everything Elvis, but also soak up some local culture," Kern said. The city is also known for its barbecue and the role it played in the
birth of the blues, soul and rock 'n' roll, he said.

Elvis Presley Enterprises sent Elvis music to Chile that was passed on to Pena underground, he said. "He's been listening to Elvis songs while running in the
mine," he said.
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