When Lt. Joseph Helton gave all in Iraq more than four years ago, his contributions to his community didn’t end. With the creation of the Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation, Helton’s family is ensuring that his legacy of giving back continues.
As the director of the Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation, Helton’s mother, Jiffy Helton Sarver, explained on the website that the Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation was created not only to honor the men and women who “Gave Their All”, but also to honor her son’s desire to return home to Walton County and give back to his community. He didn’t make it back to fulfill that desire. He was killed in action in Iraq on Sept. 8, 2009, at the age of 24, when his vehicle was hit by an IED.
The family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for Helton, not just in words, hugs and lining the streets to welcome the returning fallen soldier home, but also in the form of donations. The Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation is the family’s way to use those donations in a way to honor Helton and other fallen heroes from Walton County.
Sarver said the foundation will be for all Walton County resident soldiers who have been killed in Iraq on active duty.
“Hopefully it will have some healing power for those of us who feel the loss of a family member and/or friend,” Sarver said.
The first order of business will be a statue to honor those in the military from Walton County who “gave all” in the war in Iraq. According to the foundation website, once that has been taken care of, more fundraisers will take place for a college scholarship fund and the rehabilitation of wounded warriors. A run in Monroe is planned for 2014 to mark the fifth year of Helton’s passing.
The public is invited to the first meeting to get plans for the statue rolling. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in the main conference room of the Monroe Library at 217 Spring Street.