Community Reacts to Well Known Banker's Death

Rocky Mount, VA - A prominent Collinsville banker is being remembered for his accomplishments... less than a day after being killed in a car accident.

55-year-old Larry Heaton died Sunday, when his truck left the road and hit a tree.

Heaton was the President and CEO of Franklin Community Bank and MainStreet BankShares, Inc.

Community members say no doubt he was one of that area's more notable citizens who had dedicated the past 10 years of his life growing a community bank - that at the same time - became one of Franklin County's more charitable companies.

It's never easy getting the news that a loved one... a friend... a mentor has died.

Imagine that shockwave rolling through the homes of the thousands of people in Franklin and Henry Counties who have come to know Larry Heaton.

"Such a player in the community. Such a stalwart and a community minded person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, to the community and certainly the Franklin Community Bank family," said Franklin County Administrator, Rick Huff.

Huff knew Heaton well, both men serving the community through the Rotary Club.

However, Heaton wasn't content with just the Rotary. He was active with the YMCA and Blue Ridge Foundation as well.

He also used the bank he helped build, Franklin Community Bank, as way to give even more; spending over $350,000 on community needs in the short ten years the bank has been in business.

"I was virtually speechless. It's hard to comprehend that a guy in the prime of his life; with the shape that he was in... that something like this would happen to him. He didn't deserve it," said C.R. "Andy" McCullar.

McCullar originally hired Heaton to lead Franklin Community Bank. He says there is no doubt filling Heaton's shoes as a family man, at the bank and in the community will be difficult.

"So, yeah, it hurts me. Stuns me. I'm still stunned. It's hard to believe," said McCullar.

"He was that type of guy who would say, 'I'm willing to help if we can make it better for Franklin County," added Huff.

In a statement, Franklin Community Bank's Board of Directors say they are "saddened by the loss of a valued friend and colleague," adding that "prayers and thoughts (are) going out to Heaton's wife, sons and entire family."