Chronicle staff writer

When it comes to keeping the city of Ovilla clean and on top of matters, one name comes to mind — Dale Helm.

Helm, who has lived in Ovilla for 30 years, has been selected as this year’s grand marshal for the 22nd Ovilla Heritage Day festivities Saturday, Sept. 22.

Ovilla Mayor Bill Turner selected Helm, saying he based his decision on Helm’s having the city’s best interest at heart, including countless hours of his time toward volunteering.

“Dale has done a lot for this city over the years and he’s well deserving of being this year’s grand marshal for the event,” Turner said. “So many people see him but have no idea of who he is so this way, they’ll know who he is.”

Turner will also present Helm with the Volunteer of the Year Award during the event, saying he feels Helm is the best recipient.

“Dale always down plays everything he does, but he has really been a big help to the city of Ovilla,” Turner said, saying Helm has held the volunteer of the year title for many years because no one has been able to compete with his high standards.

“He has the desire to get people to come together and get things done,” Turner said. “He’s a leader who likes to stay active and I’m just pleased to be able to honor him this year. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to Dale.”

City secretary Miykael Reeve agreed with Turner.

“Mr. Helm is an avid volunteer in the community and he has been really inspirational to our community,” Reeve said. “He helps with community blood drives and takes good care of most of the parks. If anyone needs him for anything, he’s there.”

Helm said he doesn’t consider anything he does to be deserving of special recognition.

“I mean … you feel honored and good about being recognized for what you’ve done but I don’t feel like I need the attention,” Helm said. “Getting recognized makes you feel proud to know that people appreciate what you do, but when you’ve done it for so many years, you don’t pay attention to it or count the years. I love my city and I love for it to look good. It makes you feel proud to live in a little town where everyone knows you.

“After all, we have some of the nicest people here in Ovilla and I don’t think it can get any better than this,” he said.

Helm’s wife, Jalayn, said she is pleased her husband is being recognized.

“I’m just glad that he’s being honored this way,” she said. “I think that it’s nice that he’s being recognized during this special time.”

Helm has taken care of maintenance issues for two local cemeteries for seven years and several parks in the area, including that of Heritage Park for at least 10 years; participated in the city’s annual cleanup day; participated in numerous blood drives for 20 years during which he has donated more than 160 pints (20 gallons) of blood; volunteered at the city’s National Night Out event; and directed traffic flow during Ovilla’s Heritage Day.

“I’ve built new fences, straightened stones and organized records for the Ovilla and Shiloh cemeteries,” Helm said, noting First United Methodist Church of Ovilla now oversees the maintenance of the Ovilla Cemetery.

Helm has served on the city’s board of adjustments and was recently appointed to the city’s comprehensive plan board.

“I only served on the board for as long as it took to complete the plan,” Helm said, explaining the purpose of the board was to ascertain which direction the city is headed and where businesses should be located. “I served on the city board of adjustments for six years where we protected building codes and made adjustments to the codes when needed.”

Helm said it’s a rewarding feeling to be able to say, “I did that.”

“Doing things for the city just makes me proud because I love (the city),” he said.

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