Walt Helmick has long been a source of humor in Pocahontas County. He has taught the state of WV the perils of elected an ant farmer as Commissioner of Agriculture. His train got derailed at the last election when he ran against a real farmer so it is now time for retirement.
Unfortunately, his reign though short lived was not without its perils. We talked to local resident Jerry Atric and heard the story of the POTATO FARMING OPERATION that disappointed a lot of people.
Now you will not hear this story in the local news but it is quite embarrassing to say the least. It seems that Walt wanted to have communal gardening operation at the NRAO. Local persons were recruited to obtain a share in the potential potato field. They were to plow and plant the potatoes and the prison labor would harvest the crop. Profits would be distributed to these local potato entrepreneurs.
But Helmick forgot to develop a market for the potatoes. Subsequently they had potatoes but no market for them--typically Helmick.
So don't use the term NRAO and potato in the same breath. Hopefully, the investors lost little more than their time, labor, and the cost of seed potatoes.
You may remember that Walt was in the fish farming business. He managed to commit the county commission to stocking his fish in county streams.
Then Walt was the county dev coordinator for the County Commission. He was given charge of the abandoned Howe's Property. Ironically, the largest building burned to the ground during his tenure.
What a Fellow!