Sometimes a bad situation brings out the good in people, as area residents have learned in the past four days. The community has rallied since Friday night's destructive storm: a pelting rain coupled with whipping wind that did severe damage and left thousands in the region without power, fuel or food.
As late as Sunday night, local gas stations still were working to bring more fuel to the area. Grocery stores that were able to reopen worked to either salvage perishable supplies or get new shipments of necessities, such as meat, milk and eggs, in coolers and on shelves to meet the high demand.
Elkins Kroger manager Keith Brown said his store was open on Sunday, but had limited supplies.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
The historic Carriage House in Beverly, above, sustains heavy damage during a storm that ripped through the area Friday evening. CVS cashier Melissa Yachuw, right, writes down purchases by Tom Yocum. CVS opened its doors on Saturday morning to help residents without electricity by selling water, milk, batteries and canned goods.
"Our gasoline station and pharmacy were open," he said, noting his staff had done their best to help their neighbors in need during the storm's aftermath.
Their aid began early Saturday, like a beacon of light at the breaking of dawn. Kroger staffers salvaged perishable food items and prepared as much as they could to serve breakfast, which included eggs, to those in need in the community.
The assistance continued at lunchtime, where fare included hot dogs.
West Virginia and much of the East Coast
still are recovering from Friday's massive line of
thunderstorms, the likes of which have not been seen in the Mountain State for several decades. The massive storms caused widespread destruction, felling trees and power outages in much of West Virginia.
Rather than toss the food out, Brown said his employees used the bad situation to help as many people as they could.
"We brought out barbecue grills and cooked ... for those people who could not prepare food," he said. "The food was going to go bad, so we cooked it and shared it with others."
The staff took their good deeds one step further and raised money for charity with their relief efforts. Those who were able to pay were invited to give what they could for the impromptu meals.
"We only asked for donations, which we are giving to the Children's Miracle Network. It was a win-win situation," Brown said.
His store wasn't the only one providing service and comfort.
At the Beverly Fast Break, four employees filled orders from the door.
"We were not officially opened, but we sold items ... like bread, milk and drinks ... to those who needed them," said employee Patricia Lindsay. "We wanted to accommodate those people who had no electricity."
People also lined up to get supplies early Saturday morning at CVS Pharmacy in Elkins.
The store's manager, Amanda Mastrogiuseppe, said its doors were open despite the electrical outage in order to help those who were in need.
"We are selling gallons of milk for a dollar," Mastroguiseppe said Saturday. "We are also selling bottled water, batteries and canned goods."
CVS cashier Melissa Yachuw said the lines were steady and the day was hectic, but she didn't mind because people were being helped.
One of her customers was Tom Yocum of Belington. He benefited from Yachuw doing business the old-fashioned way: writing his purchases down by hand. That's how the store had to operate in light of the power outage, she said. Though the work was tedious compared to today's modern conveniences, such as high-tech cash registers, the staff indicated it was happy to help neighbors in need.
Others in the community also were willing to lend a helping hand. Among them was Shane Harper, a local Amateur Radio Emergency Services volunteer coordinator. Harper said he and three others opened an emergency shelter at Camp Pioneer.
"I was assisted by HAM radio operators Melvin, Ashley and Kimberly Shiflett," Harper said. "We also had volunteers who went to check on a lady from Glady to make sure she was safe."
Without landline phones and other means of communication, many people used smart phones to post notes of thanks via social media sites. Among those receiving accolades were the power crews, who were working through the weekend to help restore service to the many residents still without electricity.
For so many in the community, today marks the fourth day in a long, hot journey without lights or other necessities, such as air conditioning in what has been sweltering heat.
At the Buckhannon Moose, the lights went out Friday night during the storm at about 8:30 p.m. Employee Wendy Russell said everyone wanted to continue with the bingo game.
"We brought out candles and lit them," Russell said. "We continued playing bingo by candlelight until just after 10 p.m. Everyone had a great time."
The storm hasn't dampened everyone's spirits, it seems.
Elkins Farmer's Market set up beside First Baptist Church on Saturday in conjunction with the car show in City Park. At least part of the three-day event was able to be salvaged, providing entertainment relief for area residents.
Vendor Corrina Belan said she felt people were purchasing lots of ready-made baked goods since they could not cook or bake at home because of the widespread outages.
As of Sunday night, thousands remained without power in Northcentral West Virginia. Officials were unable to provide a timeline for restoration of service, particularly for those who live in more rural areas.