Rocky Mount, VA - Steve Oakes introduced a 15-year-old student to the Franklin County community 19 years ago, and ever since then, Jamey Singleton has cultivated a following that has arguably made him the most popular television personality in that area.
"More like a kid to me. He's almost like one of my kids," said Oakes.
"From back when he was 15 doing the weather Jamey immediately became an icon in this community. People started looking up to this little kid that was doing weather. And he wasn't just doing weather he was making accurate forecasts," he added.
That following has made for a busy time for Singleton's Cable 12 colleague Kevin Tosh, who has been fielding call after call looking for updates.
"The calls I've been fielding, and they've been plenty, I mean they've almost put us at a standstill at certain points of the morning. But it's just been community leaders, community members, business leaders in the community. They're just calling. They're concerned," said Tosh.
What may be most telling about how this community is reacting to the news of Singleton's crash is the fact that his popularity in this area seems to have grown, significantly, since his rebound from career issues that, for most TV personalities, would have ended that career.
"I think because Jamey has earned the respect of this community; not as just a good meteorologist - but as a good person. Jamey's come a long way in the last few years," said Oakes.