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GHENT, W.V. -- Almost four months after an explosion ripped apart a Little General gas station here, state Governor Joe Manchin recognized the store for the way it handled the event that claimed the lives of four people and injured five others, according to the Register-Herald Reporter.
A regional representative from the governor's office, Steve Pilato, presented Little General President Greg Darby with a certificate of recognition for the company's fund that was founded after the event, which raised more than $100,000 for relatives of the victims.
"In the days and weeks following (the tragedy), I saw what they had done with vendors and it inspired me to contact the governor's office and request that we honor the Little General stores in honor of the families and their commitment to doing what needed to be done for the future of their stores and safety of their employees," Pilato said.
City National Bank, which accepted donations and conducted raffles, was also honored.
Darby thanked the governor and his representative for the efforts they contributed after the blast.
"Steve (Pilato) stayed very close with us, seeing what he could do to help us and give his support from the governor," Darby said. "It's important to know your governor cares," he told the Reporter.
Darby received the award during a safety training class for Little General employees at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. The class included store managers and foodservice managers from each of Little General's 73 locations, the report stated.
"It's learning how to protect yourself and your customers," said Frank Pack, safety and security coordinator for Little General, adding that the company plans to hold the classes on a regular basis.
"We want to make sure our employees and our customers are safe at all times at every location," Darby said. "A lot of things can happen, and we just want to make sure everyone has a better understanding of what to do if something does happen."