I was saddened to learn of the passing of LaVerne Helm, widow of former Stephenville ISD superintendent Jaye C. Helm. Among many fond memories of LaVerne, one stands out above others.
While I was minister of Graham Street Church of Christ, the church suffered a significant fire caused by a roofer who accidentally ignited the building while trying to melt a stick of tar. We were out of the building for seven weeks.
The building might have been a total loss were it not for the speedy action of the mostly-volunteer Stephenville Fire Department. Of course, it helped that the building was so close to the Fire Department, but then again people, not proximity, put out fires.
During the seven weeks of repair, we rented the auditorium at Stephenville High School. Of course, there were many announcements about the location change that had to be made, which included a gracious page one story in the Empire-Tribune.
Due to the Empire-Tribune and other media outlets, our people were informed and showed up at SHS en masse the next Sunday morning.
A nightmare was downgraded to major inconvenience.
LaVerne's part in all this came after the first Sunday morning service at SHS. LaVerne quietly came up to me and sweetly said, "Thank you so much for referring to this building as the Jaye C. Helm Auditorium in the announcements. It meant a lot."
I had never met the superintendent, who died many years before I moved to Stephenville, but it was crystal clear that LeVerne continued to revere his memory, and did not want his name to be forgotten in the community.
To say I took note of her love for her husband would be an understatement.