WHITESVILLE, W.Va. -- In their neighboring houses on Seng Creek Road, Della Williams and her daughter, Angela Peters, don't live in a place that sees a lot of traffic.
When someone drives through the hollow as they stand in their front yards, hands wave automatically, because they're almost certain to know whoever's driving.
So when Williams heard on her police scanner about Monday's catastrophic explosion at the nearby Upper Big Branch Mine, she and her daughter set about making a sign to show their support.
It reads: "God Bless our Miners & Families," with "In our prayers and in God's hands" underneath.
The banner is intended not just to comfort the families of the dead and missing miners, but to let all the men and women who work in the mines sprinkled throughout the towns that dot the Coal River know that they are loved.
"We just wanted them all to know they were in our prayers," Williams said.
Peters' husband, Jeff, runs a miner, as the machine that cuts coal out of a seam is called, at a Massey operation other than the one where tragedy struck on Monday. He knows many of the men involved. Peters' brother, Steven Williams, went to school with three of the miners who died.
It's not hard to find someone who knows one -- or more -- of the 25 dead miners in this community, where it seems that everyone knows everyone. ("Look, there's Goose!" Steven Williams said as CNN aired an interview with Stanley Stewart, an Upper Big Branch miner who was near the mine's entrance when the explosion hit.)
Jeff Peters was unable to eat for two days after the explosion, Angela Peters said. When he comes home from work, he watches coverage of the disaster on television, and paces in the yard when he can't take it anymore.
One day, a familiar face flashed across the screen. He didn't know the man's name, but he had known him for years from the casual gatherings that take place before each shift as miners talk over coffee at a nearby gas station.