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U.S. 19E Section Named Sheriff Donald Banks Highway

​BURNSVILLE – N.C. Department of Transportation board member Billy Clarke unveiled signs officially designating a four-mile stretch of highway U.S. 19E as the Sheriff Donald Banks Highway on Saturday morning in front of a small gathering of Banks’ family, friends and honored guests.

“As the Yancey County resolution aptly states, ‘Sheriff Banks stood as a pillar in the community representing the ideals and values that citizens of Yancey County hold true,’” said Clarke, who served as emcee of the event at Cane River Baptist Church.

The NCDOT Board of Transportation approved a resolution in December to name the stretch between Cane River School Road and the West Yancey Fire Department as the Sheriff Donald Banks Highway.

Yancey County residents first elected Banks as sheriff in 1938 at 22-years-old. He served until 1942. He also served two additional terms, from 1958-1962 and from 1966 until his death exactly 51 years ago Saturday. Banks also served one term in the North Carolina Senate from 1950-52 as the representative of District 30, which consisted of Avery, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey counties.

Sheriff Banks was an active member of Cane River Baptist Church, numerous civic organizations and as a prominent businessman in Yancey County.

On Saturday morning, Banks’ son and retired Sheriff Kermit Banks welcomed everybody to ceremony, and Revered John Anglin delivered the invocation. Then N.C Rep. Michele Presnell delivered remarks and was followed by Jeff Whitson, chairman of the Yancey County Board of Commissioners. Current Sheriff Gary Banks, and Yancey County District Attorney Seth Banks concluded the remarks honoring their grandfather.

Clarke invited Kermit Banks and Gary Banks to unveil one of the new highway signs. Then four framed signs were handed out to family members.

“It’s an honor to be such a small part of such a big event,” Clarke said. “Sheriff Donald Banks played an important role in the history of this county, and it is fitting that a section of this highway be named in his honor.”


9/19/2020 1:49 PM