Franklin County natives Carol and Lucas Tuning are renowned around the county for their beautiful landscaping and outstanding holiday light display. These high school sweethearts spent time away before settling back down in Franklin County in 2001.  

When they’re not working in their rewarding non-profit and community service careers, the Tunings enjoy everything that Franklin County has to offer from tennis at Mary Elizabeth Park, to hiking, to taking in shows at the Harvester. We had the opportunity to ask them a few questions about what they think makes Franklin County shine.

What part of Franklin County do you live in? How long have you lived there?  

We both grew up in Franklin County and moved back to the area in 2001. We have lived in the Town of Rocky Mount for 21 years.  

What’s your favorite thing about living in Franklin County?  

In addition to the small-town feel, it is a very easy and laid-back lifestyle. Almost feels like retirement!  We have both lived in larger cities, and we like living in Town where it’s not that hustle and bustle that comes with traffic, driving, etc.   

What do you do for fun outside of work?  

We enjoy traveling—a lot!  The trails and parks in Franklin County are easy to maneuver for people of a certain age! We attend many events at the Harvester and are in walking distance to events in the market area. We both enjoy gardening and Lucas spends a lot of time on the golf courses!

What’s your favorite place in Franklin County?  

We enjoy our favorite restaurant that’s literally in our front yard, El Rio Mexican Grill and we also enjoy playing tennis at Mary Elizabeth Park where we had our first date in high school. 

What’s your go-to conversation starter?

When we are out, the conversation starter is always about the landscaping in our yard or our decorations during the holiday. We enjoy the flowers as much as the community seems to enjoy them. The holiday lights are a way of bringing joy not only to our family and friends but to others as well. The holidays can be a difficult time for many, and we are happy that the lights and trees bring delight to others.

Who is the coolest person you have met through The Harvester? 

Mavis Staples hands-down! She took us on a journey back through our childhood with some of the old classic R&B songs. It was a fabulous evening of entertainment. 

What advice do you have for finding or meeting new people? 

Be open-minded and listen to one another. Be kind and speak to people as you pass, even if it’s in the grocery store. Experience new activities and events outside of what you would normally do.   

What professional groups/organizations are you involved in?

We were both fortunate to find employment at great agencies in town. Carol is the executive director of Disability Rights and Resource Center and Lucas serves as a community health worker at the United Way of Roanoke Valley. In addition to enjoying the work that we do, Lucas serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals for the Town of Rocky Mount as well as a board member of the West Piedmont Planning District Commission.  

Carol is a member of the Micro-Enterprise Loan Board for the Town of Rocky Mount. In addition to her own agency board, she serves as the Chair of the Restoration Housing Board and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Disability Law Center of Virginia.

We both serve as officers at our church, Morningside Missionary Baptist Church.

What does #FranklinCountyShines mean to you?  

It’s a look back at the colorful history of Franklin County during the moonshine era.  There are numerous ways to enjoy activities throughout the county including events at the Booker T. Washington Historical Society, Ferrum Folklife Festival, Crooked Road events as well as events at the Pigg River Community Center. We have a front row seat to the Cruisin’ during the summer months!  These are all areas where the County has an opportunity to shine!

Franklin County Shines is a series about the people and places that make Franklin County one of the best places to live, work, and play. #FranklinCountyShines