I couldn't come close to expressing myself regarding your son as well as Lisa has. Please accept my simple but deeply felt condolences.
Quite directly, I use coal for those same reasons alone. I feel it's our responsibility to use what is locally available, be it coal of local availability, wood or now natural gas. We spend immeasurable precious resources for items at prices that don't reflect the true cost. I must admit I do use a bit of oil to heat my house with my current set up but most of that comes from the North American Continent. Most of my heating dollars go to the system that provides PA coal to my area and that part I'm happy to use as my main source of heat.
Glad to hear you found more than BTU value in this source for heating. I wish others would be willing to do the little extra work to do the same.
Where in NJ are you? - PM me ...