From the Editor's Desk: She was truly an 'Angel Among Us'
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
The country band Alabama had a very popular song in 1993 called “Angels Among Us” which talked about those people who not only show up unexpectedly to assist you in your darkest times of trouble, but also those who are always routinely there to help improve quality of life for those who maybe need a little boost.
One of those angels was Helen Cullen.
Over the years I had the privilege of getting to know Miss Helen, and was honored to be able to call her my friend.
I have never known a more giving, selfless person who gave and gave of herself for those in need … even when life might not have been so perfect for her.
I do not remember how I first got to know Miss Helen years ago, although I suspect it was probably through Community Action, which was frequently sending us information to run in the paper. But I do know it did not take me long to learn that there were certain places I went where she was always, and I mean always, going to be.
Walking into Energy Express at Keyser Middle School, I knew it would be Miss Helen who would greet me at the welcome table. And what a joy it was to watch as the young students would stop by and talk with her. She always treated them with such decency and respect, yet knew how to be the firm grandma type when she needed to be.
Walking into the Potomac Heights Hi-Rise to cover their Veterans Day programs, it was always Miss Helen who greeted me at the door to the commons area with a big smile. In fact, it was more than likely her who called me to invite me to the program in the first place.
And how fitting it was that one of the programs she herself started was named “Helen’s Christmas Angels.” You remember walking into a Mineral County business or office and seeing a Christmas tree decorated with the names of area children who needed some Christmas gifts?
That was Helen’s Christmas Angels … started by one of Mineral County’s true “Angels Among Us.”
She was always looking for ways to help someone, especially the children, and knew how to utilize whatever gifts she had to do just that.
I will never forget, years ago when my husband was assistant manager of McCrory’s in the Country Club Mall, the store was closing down and it was his job to help clean out the leftover merchandise.
He had a bunch of really pretty greeting cards and asked me if I had any use for them.
I said, “No, but I bet I know someone who does.”
I called Miss Helen and asked her if she could use them. Her answer?
“Now Liz, you KNOW I can put them to use!”
I dropped them off to Energy Express, and she was delighted. I never knew what she did with them, but I know whatever she did with them was creative and purposeful and somehow, some way brightened somebody’s day.
So maybe that is the best definition of a true “Angel Among Us” - someone who uses what gifts they have, or what materials they can find or are given, to reach out to those in need.
I will truly miss getting my call from Miss Helen telling me what her latest project was and could I come do a story or take a picture.
But I know in my heart that this Angel Who Was Among Us is now an Angel Looking Over Us, and her legacy will live on in the many people - young and older - whose lives she touched.
Liz Beavers is managing editor of the News Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org