Brundidge native to serve as acting

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 9, 2000

USDA Rural Development director


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In the wake of the resignation of Horace Horn as director of USDA Rural Development, a Brundidge native has been named as acting director until a new director is appointed.

Beverly Helton of Montgomery began the duties of acting director on Monday, Jan. 3, 2000. Helton has been employed by USDA for 18 years, and has worn many hats during her employment.

"For the last 15 years I have worked directly for the state director," Helton said. "I feel honored that they have the confidence in me to appoint me as acting director."

As acting director, Helton will be in charge of the Loan and Grant Program and about 140 personnel.

"Until a state director is appointed there will be an acting director," Helton said. "It could be a week, a month or six months. While I am acting director I will do the best job I can. It will be business as usual."

In the 18 years Helton has been employed by USDA Rural Development she has worked in the single-family housing division, the farmer program division, office of general council (legal division), administrative assistant to the state director (10 years), and public affairs specialist for the last three years. Helton said prior to being named acting state director she was appointed assistant state director.

Helton said she has enjoyed all of the positions she has held with USDA and feels prepared to serve as acting state director.

"Working in all of the divisions has given me good insight in the over all flow of work," Helton said. "I realize how important it all is for us to provide good customer service, develop partnerships, and use loan and grant money to serve as many people as we can in Alabama.

"Mr. Horn gave me the kind of leadership I needed to be able to serve as acting director until someone is appointed.

Helton said there are no plans to change anything about USDA Rural Development. She said she plans to stay on the same course the agency has been following for the past few years and to continue to work under the same budget.

To Helton being named acting state director is a challenge and she feels she is ready to take on the duties and serve the people of Alabama.

"Knowing that I had a part in helping people have a better place to live or seeing that they have safe drinking water make this job worth it," she said. "It is good to know we are providing opportunities that people might not have without the help of our agency."

The programs offered by the USDA are administered throughout 18 counties and four area offices. The state office is located in Montgomery.

Some of the programs include financing single-family housing for low to moderate income families, the construction of multi-family housing (apartments) for low to moderate income families, community facilities such as libraries, fire stations, day cares, town hall, fire and rescue vehicles by offering loans and grants for construction and rehabilitation, industrial parks, water and waste water programs and businesses and industries through a loan program. USDA Rural Development also offers a guaranteed loan program for businesses and industries and a direct loan program for businesses and industries.

‘We use these programs to provide a better quality of life for people who live in rural areas," said Helton. "Pike County has benefitted from the programs in many ways. Through the USDA Rural Development programs nine apartment complexes for low and moderate income families have been build, six in Troy and three in Brundidge. Over the past four years 500 single family homes have been built. In the past we have helped finance water systems for the towns of Banks and Goshen and made financing available to National Warehouses. Recently, we have assisted the town of Brundidge in financing an industrial development park. We want to continue to use our programs to help the people in Pike County and all over the state."

Helton is married to Ken Helton, formerly of Brundidge. She is the daughter of Lamar and Shirley Steed of Brundidge.