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Amelia farmer killed in accident: ‘I just feel lucky I got to know him’

Posted at 6:30 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 12:37:58-04

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- Not knowing what to do after the death of his beloved friend, Kenny Walwer decided to display a sign 40 feet above Military Road in Amelia County with the simple words, "RIP Reuben."

Reflecting on the death of community farmer Reuben Blanton Jr.,  due to a farming accident, Walwer said Blanton was beloved by the community.

"We had a great loss and Reuben touched so many people's lives individually and he touched mine," Walwer said.

To the those who knew Blanton, Walwer's gesture is a reminder of a loss that has affected the entire community.

"I just feel lucky I got to know him for six years. I think everyone who knew him even longer is going to be missing a big piece of the community," said Laura Siegle, the County Agriculture Extension Agent.

"Everyone when his name is heard, a smile comes on their face because they have good memories," Walwer said about the days following Blanton's death.

Blanton won accolades from various agriculture related associations and had served on both the Farm Bureau Board and the Amelia County Planning Commission.

"He was a farmer, he was honest with you," said Sielge. "He told you what he thought. He cared about what he did and he was very passionate about it but he was good to the people around him too."

The accident, according to investigators, was reported August 17, at about 8:50 a.m.

The Virginia State Trooper's preliminary investigation revealed Blanton Jr. was "operating a 2017 Massey Ferguson tractor near a body of water that was approximately 14-feet deep. As Blanton was working near the water, dirt gave way under the tractor forcing it to overturn into the water."

The incident remains under investigation.