This is a letter to the community of Buckhannon.
My name is Alex Croker. I am a 23-year-old traveler from England who passed through your city on June 29.
I am cycling from Los Angeles to New York City to raise money and awareness for War Child, Cancer Research UK and MIND. I started this challenge with no cycling experience or training, after witnessing the heartbreaking poverty in Cambodia and deciding to use my travel time to do some good.
I bought a bike in LA and just started pedalling; whenever it gets tough I just think about the choice that I made to be here, and how the people I am riding for don't chose to be in the situations they find themselves in.
I stopped at McDonalds at lunch time to sit out the heat of the day with a soft drink, and found myself caught in the storm that hit around 7 p.m. I'd seen the weather warning, had decided not to cycle on to Elkins as planned, and try to wait out the storm before finding somewhere to camp afterward. Thank god I didn't, as that was the most terrifying storm I've ever seen. The winds, lightning and rain reminded me of scenes from "Twister."
After the power went out across the county, I began to panic. I had no idea where to go or what to do. The staff at McDonalds were great, especially a young man called Justin, and offered me shelter after closing the restaurant.
When the police turned up, the two officers drove me to the hospital where I was able to shelter for the night, whilst my bike was stored at McDonalds.
I just want to write and express my thanks to all those involved this evening in making me safe and secure. I was experiencing the most challenging and worrying crisis of my 4,300-mile trip and everyone was extremely comforting and helpful. You should take great pride in the calm and helpful way your community reacted to the crisis.