Commission Tables Funding Request by Helen Arts & Heritage Center


HELEN, Ga. – The Helen City Commission Tuesday tabled for further consideration a request for funding from the Helen Arts and Heritage Center.

At the first meeting in April, the Center’s Craft Care Specialist Nancy Ackerman said the Center, which is manned almost exclusively by volunteers, needs funding to continue its work. She asked commissioners to consider funding of $20,000 for the remainder of this year and $30,000 for 2018. At that earlier meeting, disabled veteran William Reed gave powerful and tearful testimony about what the Center’s program for veterans had meant to him personally.

“The program helped me a lot,” Reed said. “It’s gotten me out of the house and involved in art. I feel it’s very important just to help keep me going, and to help other veterans. It helps us all get together.”

Commissioners approved holding the 2017 Southeast Victory Rally from June 1 through June 4, and closing Narr Wegg Street during the event to allow running the dyno machine. Event coordinators had requested the event take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day but commissioners decided 7 a.m. was too early to start the noise making dyno machines and set the hours at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

A request for a fence encroachment between Escowee Property Holdings, LLC and the City of Helen was unanimously approved.

Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a comprehensive adjustment to the fiscal year 2016-17 budgetary appropriations and held a second reading of an ordinance to amend the official code of the City regarding alcoholic beverages.

City Manager Jerry Elkins provided a financial report that showed total revenue collected by the city is $2,438,869 as compared to $2,299,386 at this time last year. Total expenditure are also slightly ahead of projections. Expenditures for the first nine months of the fiscal year are $1,922,518 compared to $1,896,838 at this time in 2016.




Disabled Vet Makes Powerful Plea For Helen Arts and Heritage Center


HELEN, Ga. — When you think about the Helen Arts and Heritage Center, you don’t think about the good work its volunteers perform for the veterans of Helen and White County and how much it means to them. But that is only because you haven’t met William Reed, a disabled veteran who served 18 years on active duty.

Reed’s powerful testimony at Tuesday’s Helen City Commission meeting not only made it clear what the HAHC means to him, it brought many in the room to tears.

Reed bravely stood before commissioners and, after a long, tearful pause, said, “I’m a disabled veteran. The program helped me a lot. It’s gotten me out of the house and involved in art. I feel it’s very important just to help keep me going, and to help other veterans. It helps us all get together.”

Reed thanked Veteran Art Program Director Lisa Cahill and Craft Care Specialist Nancy Ackerman for what they have done for him.

“(They) have been wonderful in supporting us and helping us. It really means a lot,” he said.

Reed’s testimony was so emotional there were numerous long pauses prompting Mayor Helen Wilkins to encourage him.

“Take your time,” she said. When he continued, he talked about how until he enrolled in the program, he didn’t go out in public much…how it had given him a sense of self worth.

Through a dual non-profit partnership with Help Heal Veterans, Inc., HAHC provides quality art based craft project kits, programs and activities designed specifically with the needs of veterans in mind.

But Ackerman said HAHC needs funding to continue to serve the community and she asked the commission to consider $20,000 in funding for 2017 and $30,000 for 2018.

The HAHC website says “Art is therapy. If we can offer something of quality to a group of men and women who have already given so much of themselves for us, then we have accomplished our goal.”

Workshops meet on Tuesdays from 10 am  until noon. All veterans and spouse/caregivers are welcome.

City Council could vote on Ackerman’s request at its next meeting.

HAHC is located at 25 Chattahoochee Strasse

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