Cunningham joins Benchmark Bankshares Board of Directors

Published 1:48 pm Thursday, October 10, 2019

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Joel C.
Cunningham Jr.

Benchmark Bankshares, Inc., holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, is pleased to announce the addition of Halifax attorney Joel C. Cunningham, Jr. to its Board of Directors.

A native of Halifax County, Cunningham is the managing attorney and founder of the Cunningham Law Group, P.C. in Halifax, focusing exclusively on Social Security and Disability Law. He has been a member of the Virginia Bar Association since 1998. He received his Juris Doctor in 1997 from North Carolina Central University School of Law following his 1988 graduation from Hampton University. He is married to the former Elizabeth DaCosta. The Cunninghams have two children, Joel Daniel and Evelyn Ann.

Cunningham is a founder of the youth-focused Junior PGA League. Initiated in Halifax in 2018, Junior PGA teaches youngsters from all walks of life to use the techniques and rules of golf to help them learn strategic decision-making and relationship skills, along with the rules of sportsmanship. Additionally, he has served as a sponsor for The Prizery during its redevelopment and is involved with the Tobacco Commission.

Cunningham is particularly proud of his work with the Virginia Legal Aid Society. “Virginia Legal Aid serves people who cannot afford legal assistance,” he said. “From working with uncontested divorces, wills, and other situations that require legal expertise, volunteer attorneys help individuals’ sort through life situations many local people cannot financially support.”

In making the announcement, Benchmark President/CEO Jay Stafford said, “Joel Cunningham is a wonderful addition to our Board of Directors. Professionally, he assists people with some of the most complicated situations people face as they age or become disabled. Personally, he demonstrates his commitment to the community through his work with organizations contributing to the quality of life in Halifax County. Joel’s is a truly committed member of his community and represents what we, as a community bank, are dedicated to providing to our communities. We are delighted he agreed to join our Board of Directors.”

Board Chairman Randy Lail echoed Stafford’s sentiment. “Joel’s service to his community is exemplary. When we were looking for a new Board member who represented our bedrock commitment to our communities, Joel was the perfect fit.”

Cunningham is excited about joining the Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Board of Directors. “Our community is diverse,” he said. “When I looked around, Benchmark is the only financial institution that truly reflects the diversity of our area. I moved all my accounts to Benchmark some years back because of the way the organization operates. They made me feel like family. The way they treat their customers is the way I want to be treated. Each customer is a priority. I want to serve on this Board to help perpetuate that character.”

With the addition of Cunningham, the Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Board of Directors numbers 12 members representing all areas of the bank’s geographic service footprint. Founded in 1971, Benchmark Community Bank, is a $700 million locally-owned and operated full-service bank head­quartered in Kenbridge. It is the company’s sole subsidiary with a total of sixteen banking offices located throughout central Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. Additional information is available on the company’s website,