John Edwards spoke to the local Rotary Club Wednesday about the many improvements and the many opportunities that are currently facing our community.
He began his program by giving praise to the help given by the Walton Foundation in the recent improvements at Helena Harbor. Edwards told the Rotarians that when Tom Walton was in Helena last with a member of the Walton Foundation, “We had a wonderful visit.”
It was just the opportunity Edwards was seeking to tell Walton what a big difference in the commitment their foundation has made so far to this Delta community, and specifically Helena Harbor and the repair of the rails.

John Edwards spoke to the local Rotary Club Wednesday about the many improvements and the many opportunities that are currently facing our community.

He began his program by giving praise to the help given by the Walton Foundation in the recent improvements at Helena Harbor. Edwards told the Rotarians that when Tom Walton was in Helena last with a member of the Walton Foundation, “We had a wonderful visit.”

It was just the opportunity Edwards was seeking to tell Walton what a big difference in the commitment their foundation has made so far to this Delta community, and specifically Helena Harbor and the repair of the rails.

Edwards held up a recent copy of The Helena World displaying a photo of the first rail car to be ordered for a customer at Helena Harbor. Pointing to the tanker car on the front page Edwards said, “This certainly will not be the last, but this is a good good start, and being able to acknowledge to them what that meant to us with their financial support was a great privilege.”

Edwards also gave updates on several projects in which he has become involved.

He stated, “Because of some of the funding that the Walton's provided to us, it made it easier to do some things and Helena’s own Angela Shirey has been of great assistance."

Some of the updates include  a memorandum of understanding with the prosecuting attorney’s office in which a criminal investigator was hired, “that will focus on helping the local law enforcement agencies in Phillips County put their case files together.”

Edwards continued, “This is something that many jurisdictions have but we have never had it here and it has typically been because of funding but we have to act now on these kinds of things later is not an option.”

Another Helena Port Authority initiative, which is coming to fruition includes the cleaning up of the main thoroughfares in the community. This initiative has been possible, Edwards related, because of the money donated by the Walton Foundation, which freed up funds from one project to allow beautification projects across Helena and West Helena.

“The better you make your community look the more likely you will garner the attention long enough to get somebody to pay attention to what you have to say…and this Walton funding has allowed us to divert some funding to push that forward,” concluded Edwards.