Elizabeth Bowers wasn't about to let a countywide power outage keep her from serving the public.
Bowers, the owner of Scottie's Hamburgers, is the only local restaurant owner, to her knowledge, that stayed open for the duration of the power outage in the wake of "Frankenstorm."
"We stayed open by way of generators because the law enforcement (officers) had to have a place to eat, and there were so many people who didn't even have any place to go to get a hot cup of coffee," Bowers said. "We have a lot of elderly people who are regulars - people on chemotherapy and people who are diabetics that need to eat on a regular basis."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Katie Kuba
Elizabeth Bowers, right, owner of Scottie’s Hamburgers, serves regular customer Steve Wilt a cup of coffee recently. Scottie’s remained open for the duration of the power outage.
So, Bowers and her staff cooked up breakfast, lunch and dinner on a gas stove and oven and used a calculator instead of a cash register to ring up orders from 5:30 a.m. until dark. She felt it was her duty to the community to stay open, Bowers said.
"I saw a lot of people come in here with fear in their eyes," she said. "They weren't sure what to do - it was scary, it really was. We wanted to be here for them."
Steve Wilt, who's been eating at Scottie's since 1972, didn't miss a day at Scottie's during the power outage.
"This is a very gracious lady here," he said, motioning toward Bowers. "I was here everyday, and excuse my language, but there were lines out the door and everyone was running her butt all over the place. I give her two thumbs up."
Bowers was one of several local business owners and individuals who lent and continue to lend a helping hand to help keep people in their respective communities safe, warm and well-fed.
While Bowers did her best to keep her customers full during the storm, Terri Dumire is helping them spruce up their appearance in its aftermath. Dumire owner of Terri's Shear Magic on Second Street in Elkins was offering a free shampoo and blow dry from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday for all people who without power.
"It's just such a good feeling if you haven't been able to shower in a few days," Dumire said. "You can take a little sink bath, but you can't really do anything with your hair. A friend actually came up with that, and I said, 'you know, that's a really great idea.'"
Jim Farry, director of the Upshur County Office of Emergency Management, said although he didn't want to mention specific names for fear of leaving anyone unmentioned he was aware of quite a few times when neighbors had already done the work the West Virginia Army National Guard was sent to do.
National Guard health and wellness teams are charged with responding to calls often from out-of-state relatives about elderly people who are trapped in their homes.
"We've run into a lot of cases where we've sent them (health and wellness teams) out to check on somebody, and the neighbors had already checked on them and helped them," Farry said. "It seems like it's been a tremendous community effort." Farry said the wellness teams will have far less work this weekend because most Upshur County roads will be passable by Saturday.
"The majority of people in downtown Buckhannon are back on line with power," Farry added. "We're working on getting people in the southern end of the county back."
Dairy King employee Sheila Louk watched a woman pay it forward a random act of kindness, that is, while she was working at Brake's Dairy King on Tuesday.
"In the midst of the storm while working at Brake's, a gentleman came in for food," Louk said. "He was waiting in line talking about cutting trees and helping others. When he went to pay, he realized he'd forgotten his money."
"As he started to leave, a lady immediately paid his bill," Louk continued. "In the worst of the storm, sometimes it brings out the best in people!"
Buckhannon resident Darissa Linger watched wordlessly as her neighbor, Beth Post, ventured out in freezing temperatures and foot-high snow to be a good samaritan.
"My neighbor, Mrs. Post, who teaches English at the Middle School) went out the first day of the crazy snowstorm and shoveled off our elderly neighbors' car and shoveled their sidewalk for them," Linger said. "She did it without saying a word. We just spied on her doing a good little deed."
And Elkins resident Angie Wilson didn't lose her food, thanks to a few good friends.
"Some friends brought their generator to our home to power up our refrigerator so we wouldn't lose our perishable food items," Wilson said. "They never asked for anything and they powered up our neighbor's refrigerator also."