The annual Memorial Poker Run for SPC Justin R. Helton was held on June 7 at the Beaver VFW, with all proceeds benefitting the Justin R. Helton Scholarship Fund.

The poker run was very well attended despite the hot weather, and was provided an escort by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, and Piketon and Waverly police departments.

Among the stops on the run was lunch at the American Legion Merritt Post 142 in Waverly, where the scholarship received a generous donation from the legion as well as Sons of the American Legion (SAL).

Post 142 presented Justin Helton’s parents, Wendell and Sandra Helton, with a check for $10,000, and SAL donated $1,000.

At the Beaver VFW, the poker run included a live auction, 50/50 raffle, cornhole, food, and music provided by Felony 4.

Helton, a 2006 graduate of Eastern High School, was one of five American soldiers killed on June 9, 2014, during a security operation in southern Afghanistan. A lifelong resident of Beaver, Helton was 25 years old and served as an EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) bomb specialist with the U.S. Army.

Scholarships are awarded from the Justin R. Helton Scholarship Fund each year to students from five Pike County schools, Eastern, Western, Piketon, and Waverly high schools and the Career Technology Center.

To qualify for the scholarships, students are asked to write an essay on Why Freedom isn’t Free.

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