SPENCER, W.Va. -- John Denbigh and Joe Wilson take elections seriously.
"The vote is the most precious thing we have in this country," said Denbigh, co-owner of Casto-Harris election supply company in Spencer.
So when customers in Nassau County, N.Y., called on the Friday before the general election to find out if there were any spare generators available in West Virginia, Denbigh and Wilson sprang into action.
"Joe's brother-in-law -- and my cousin -- just happens to be in the hardware business," Denbigh said.
Wilson and Denbigh called on Hardman's, a hardware chain with seven stores in West Virginia, to find out if there were any generators around. Hardman's general manager, Randall Walker, said he got the call for generators at about 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 2. By then, most West Virginians who needed generators had already bought one.
Jason Starcher, manager of the Spencer store, said company officials checked with the other stores, rounded up 17 generators and sent them to Spencer. By 5 a.m. Nov. 3, a truck was on its way to Nassau County on storm-ravaged Long Island. The generators were used to power polling places on Tuesday.
The generator roundup wasn't the only way West Virginians have helped their northeastern neighbors in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Even as crews were digging out from a massive snowstorm that blanketed much of the state, the Mountain State was sending help north.
Mike Jarrett, spokesman for the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, said Kanawha County sent five ambulances and crews to the New York area when it became apparent that Sandy was going to do major damage in the area.
"They've been moving all over the place," Jarrett said, working 18-hour days around New York and New Jersey, often sleeping in their vehicles.
Lt. Col. Dave Lester, spokesman for the West Virginia National Guard, said the state guard sent nine people to New York to help out following the storm. All specialists in repairing and maintaining generators, they were expected to spend a week to 10 days in the area.