AMMA, W.Va. -- A sign behind the counter tells the story at O'Dell's Exxon in Amma: "Today's Special: Hot Drinks & Melted Candy Bars."
But a hand-lettered sign in the front window of the local landmark tells the rest of the story:
"Shelter at Big Otter Elem. Cots, Food & A/C. FREE."
O'Dell's Exxon, just off of the Amma exit of Interstate 79, has been without electricity or a way to pump gasoline since hurricane-force winds tore through West Virginia on Friday. O'Dell's has been open anyway, an impromptu community center, meeting place and communications center, where Roane County residents come to gather news and swap stories.
"This is the place to come," said Crystal Bryan, who lives on Canoe Run Road, not far away. "They'll figure out how to get something done.
"This is the only place you're going to get any information."
Since the violent thunderstorm knocked out electricity to much of the state, Bryan has come to O'Dell's several times seeking information and necessities. On Monday, she bought a gallon jug of warm water and the first cup of hot coffee she'd had since the storm hit.
All day long, a steady stream of cars pulls in and out of O'Dell's. Some are travelers looking for gas and some are local workers looking for a hot meal, but many just want to see a friendly face and find out what's going on.
"Do you have a phone book for Clendenin?" one visitor asked. O'Dell's had one.
John O'Dell built the gas station in the mid-1970s, as Interstate 79 was going in. Since then, it has become a local meeting place and source of information. "Everybody in this whole community comes in this place to gossip," said O'Dell's wife, Clarise.
Although without power, O'Dell's has faithfully opened every day, selling what they could and keeping sales records with pencil and paper. The station ran out of ice Saturday, but people kept coming. Even warm soda looks good if you're thirsty enough.