David Helfert - 1961









David Helfert 2003-11-24
A Triumph of Underachievement

Dave Helfert attended Hickman High School for only one year.  An Army brat, he moved to Columbia with his family in the spring of 1960, after being marooned for three and a half years on the island of Okinawa.  Dave enrolled at Hickman as a sophomore, but quickly burned his bridges there and transferred to University High School for his junior year.  In August 1962, Dave moved to Austin, Texas, and exceeding all expectations, graduated from St. Edwards High School in June 1963.

He entered the University of Texas that fall.  A Naval R.O.T.C Midshipman and freshman baseball player for the Texas Longhorns, Dave could not seem to find time in his busy schedule for classes.  Following extensive consultation with the Dean of Students, he took a break from the rigors of academia and went on active duty with the U.S. Navy in January 1965.  His service included nearly a year as Cruise Director on the scenic waterways of South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Returning to the U.S. only slightly more screwed up than when he left, Helfert was discharged from active duty in May 1968 and attended school in California for a year before transferring back to the University of Texas, where he still holds the record for tenure on scholastic probation.  With the GI Bill and sheer stubbornness, he completed his undergraduate work in Journalism and began a meteoric career as a radio and television news reporter.

After only three years, he sold out his few remaining principles and became Public Information Officer for the Texas House of Representatives in 1973.  Four years later, he stunned those who said he could sink no lower and became a partner in a marketing-advertising agency.  Once again the twin specters of stability and success were too much.  Dave merged his agency with a large firm in 1986, and a year later went on his own as a Democratic media consultant.  He dissembled, obfuscated and, sometimes, just outright lied to get Democrats elected to office until September 1994, when he was kidnapped by the Clinton Administration and forced to move to the Washington, DC area.

After six and a half years as Communications Director for the Federal Mediation Service and then the Small Business Administration, he completely lost his mind and went to work on Capitol Hill, first for a Texas Congressman and now as Democratic Communications Director for the House Appropriations Committee.

Dave married the lovely Kathy Ledbetter in 1976.  She is otherwise a very intelligent and quite lovely person and is a Guidance Counselor in the Fairfax County Public Schools of Northern Virginia.  Their son Clay is an airline pilot and despite their extreme youth, he insisted on making them grandparents in October 2002.



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