|Charles Helm named state Air Force Assn.’s Civilian of the Year|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Oct. 30, 2005 - Sulphur Springs builder and developer Charles Helm was honored by the Air Force Association as Northeast Civilian of the Year during the association’s business meeting, held Oct. 8 in Amarillo.
The award was presented by Lt. General (Ret.) Donald L. Peterson, left, national executive director of the Air Force Association and Bob Slaughter, president of the Texas Air Force Association.
Helm is a true friend and supporter of the Air Force Association in Northeast Texas, according to Terry Thomas, president of Chapter 416, Northeast Texas AFA, who said Helm is an absolute standout when it comes to supporting the chapter and all of its initiatives.
�Charles has been actively involved in this Chapter for a total of 12 years,� Thomas said. �Over that 12-year period, we have never once approached Charles for some sort of support and had him deny our request.�
A few examples of Helm’s generosity included his 12 years as underwriter of the association’s “Golf Thing,” a major fundraiser.
�When Helm learned that we would be hosting the AFA state meeting in Greenville, he immediately contacted me to let me know that he would discount as many hotel rooms as we would need and not charge us for the splendid conference room and hospitality suite that were utilized,� Thomas said. �He also insisted that he supply additional snacks and drinks during the conference at no charge to the chapter.�
Helm and his wife, Sharon, also regularly attend the association’s Annual Earle North Parker Banquet and work to promote the event and to support the association’s Community Partner Team.
He was also noted for playing a key role in introducing U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall to the association.
�Several years ago we were trying to find someone who could help us get better acquainted with Congressman Ralph Hall,� Thomas said. �We mentioned this to Charles, and he said �let me set something up for you.� The very next week we received a personal invitation for a private breakfast with the congressman, and he is asking us how he can get more involved with AFA.�
Hall then accepted an invitation to be guest speaker for the Earle North Parker Banquet at the AFA state meeting, held in Greenville.
Helm is a past recipient of the Hopkins County Citizen of the Year Award, past director and vice chairman of Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, past director and board president of Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation, past member of Texas Hotel & Lodging Association board of directors, past member of the city of Sulphur Springs Board of Tourism and Promotion, past director of East Texas State University Alumni board of directors, past member and president of Sulphur Springs Country Club board of directors, Alliance Bank board of directors, and secretary-treasurer for the board of directors for Best Western Hotels.
The Air Force Association is an independent, civilian aerospace organization and is privately operated and financed. Their stated mission is to advocate and support the men and women of the U.S. Air Force, to educate the members and the public at large as to what these men and women do, and to advocate and support the military preparedness of the United States in order to maintain the security of this nation and its allies.
The Texas branch of the Air Force Association has 15 chapters and more than 13,000 members.