Helton wins prestigious Davis Award

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2000

Features Editor

August 9, 2000 8 p.m.

Beverly Steed Helton, assistant state director for USDA Rural Development in Alabama, is the recent recipient of the prestigious James M. Davis Award.

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The award was presented to Helton during the Alabama Council for Affordable and Rural Housing’s (ALCARH) annual meeting at Orange Beach which was attended by more than 300 managers, developers, owners and related housing industry representatives.

In presenting the award, Ray Huff, past president of ALCARH and the national Council for Affordable Rural Housing, said Helton’s years of dedicated service and commitment to the Section 515 multi-family housing program and its recipients, in addition to her outstanding qualities as an individual, made her the most deserving recipient for the year 2000 award.

Helton, who has been employed with USDA Rural Development in Alabama for 19 years, said she was very honored to have been selected to receive the James M. Davis award, especially, given the list of the distinguished past recipients.

"When I realized that the biographical information Ray was giving on the award recipient was mine, I was completely overwhelmed," she said. "Obviously the part that gave it away was ‘she grew up in Brundidge.’"

As Huff presented the award to Helton, he told her that some special people had driven a long way to share the moment with her.

"He pointed to the side of the room and there stood my family," Helton said. "I was speechless at that point. I had no idea that I would ever be considered, much less nominated, for this distinguished award. It was a well-kept secret. I am very honored to have been selected to receive this award from ALCARH, especially when I look at the list of past recipients."

Helton said she has enjoyed working with the ALCARH board, staff and members on special projects for USDA Rural Development.

"And, I look forward to continuing to do so for years to come," she said.

The James M. Davis award was not the first professional recognition Helton has received. In 1993, she received a national employee of the year award from Farmers Home Administration, which is now known as USDA Rural Development.

The James M. Davis award was established in 1989 by the Alabama Council for Rural Housing Development. The award bears the name of a retired Farmers Home Administration architect known throughout Alabama for his dedication to USDA’s rural housing programs.

In making a nomination, the ALCARH board of directors looks for an explanation of the qualities and attributes of the individual that makes him or her a candidate, as well as evidence of support for ALCARH members and the candidate’s colleagues.

Helton is the daughter of Lamar and Shirley Steed of Brundidge. She is a 1981 graduate of Troy State University.

She and her husband, Ken Helton, also of Brundidge, make their home in Montgomery.