Today would have been our friend and former Roanoke County Republican Committee member David Helmer‘s 73rd birthday. To celebrate David‘s life and significant contributions to the Roanoke Valley, you are invited to a celebration of his life this Saturday at the O. Winston Link Museum from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
A long-time railway executive who started with Norfolk Southern when it was still Norfolk and Western, David was the driving force behind the establishment of the O. Winston Link Museum that celebrates the photographer’s chronicling of American railways.
As a Republican he organized and hosted receptions at the Link Museum for our statewide GOP candidates, the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, and several legislators. David also used his connections as a leader in the History Museum of Western Virginia, the Virginia Transportation Museum, the Roanoke Valley Central Railway, the Roanoke Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, and Kiwanis to help our candidates build coalitions and also help various philanthropic organizations expand their networks.
Before his work with the railway, David served as a U.S. Army officer in Vietnam and eventually rose to the rank of Major.
Ashley and I enjoyed getting to know David and his wife Grace working together on GOP causes and talking about family and the railroad at Salem Red Sox games. Like dozens of young people in the Valley, we greatly benefited from their generosity of time and advice.
As fervent life-long supporters of Oklahoma State University, David and Grace would take lengthy trips to support the Cowboys. When he passed last month, David was on such a trip. In keeping with his devotion to OSU, his family has requested that orange be worn to this Saturday’s event. Wherever you are this weekend though, please keep David‘s family in your prayers.