Helmer receives Community Cornerstone Award
CornerBank has announced that Jim Helmer is the Community Cornerstone Award recipient for the month of November. In recognition of his accomplishments, CornerBank will contribute $100 to the Legacy Community Foundation to support community development projects. A reception honoring Jim will be held at 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, in the CornerBank lobby, 900 Main. The public is invited to attend the reception.
As he enters his 32nd season as Cross Country and Men's Track Coach at Southwestern College, Helmer has changed very little the formula for success his teams have enjoyed the past three decades. The Cross Country team recently won their 30th consecutive KCAC Men's Cross Country Championship at Lake Afton near Goddard.
After graduation from Southwestern in 1971, Coach Helmer became the track and cross country coach at Winfield High School for seven years (1971-1978), winning state championships in cross country in 1973 and 1974, grabbing regional championships in track and field in 1977 and 1978, and winning the Ark Valley League Championship in 1978, the first league track crown in WHS history.
In the fall of 1978, Helmer returned to his alma mater and immediately set out to make the Southwestern track and cross country programs competitive at the conference, regional, and national level, a goal the Lyons, KS, native has accomplished.
After finishing third in the KCAC cross country championships in 1978 and 1979, Helmer's harriers have won 30 straight men's KCAC fall running championships (1980-2009), while his track and field teams have romped to 27 consecutive conference crowns (1983-2009) after four straight second-place finishes.
Individually, Helmer's work has produced a total of seven NAIA National Champions in men's cross country and track. 88 of his athletes have earned NAIA All-American status a total of 199 times, and 465 separate athletes have earned All-Conference status during his tenure.
As coach of the Moundbuilder men's track and cross country program at Southwestern, Helmer has been named KCAC Cross Country Coach of the Year 28 times, KCAC Men's Track Coach of the Year 1983 through 2009, NAIA District 10 Cross Country Coach of the Year 1984-1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1993, NAIA District 10 Track Coach of the Year 1983-1991, 1993, and 1994, and NAIA Area Three Track Coach of the Year 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, and for cross country in 1992 and 1993. He was also named NAIA Great Plains Region Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1994, NAIA Region IV in 2000, 2005, and 2007, Region IV Indoor Track Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and Region IV Outdoor Track Coach of the Year in 2007.
In addition to his accomplishments as a coach, Helmer is the past President of the NAIA Track Coach Association and NAIA Cross Country Coaches Association.
In the fall of 1991, Helmer was honored with is induction into the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame for his unparalleled achievements as a coach, and in 2001, he was inducted into the NAIA Cross Country Hall of Fame, in the category of coach. Only nine other coaches have been awarded this honor in cross country since 1956.
The holder of a master's degree from Wichita State University, Helmer and his wife, Deb, are the parents of three children: Cory, a former SC All-American; Cassie, a former two time All-American, who is married to Ryan Turner; and Ashley. They have three grandchildren: Lauryn and Haylie, Houston; and Parker, Winfield.
Helmer was selected for the award by the Community Cornerstone Award selection committee, which includes Roger Lungren, Phyllis Hearn, Jill Long, Sheryle Ohm, Nancy Tredway and Ned Graham. All are previous recipients of the Cornerstone Award. Volunteers are the cornerstones of healthy communities. The Community Cornerstone Award recognizes the time and effort of volunteers dedicated to serving people and enhancing the quality of life in Cowley County. To make a nomination contact Ev Bowman at 221-1650 or email@example.com.
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