Every time Joseph came home from the Academy, he always took time to visit the AFJROTC at Monroe Area High School. Fully aware that opportunities were limited in his small home town, he tried to encourage cadets and students to set higher goals for themselves, and to achieve more. He often talked about coming back to Monroe to help inspire students and give back to his community.
The Lt Helton Foundation was initially founded with two goals in mind: 1) to create a Memorial in Walton County to honor both Civil Service and Military personnel who were killed in the line of service, and 2) to establish a scholarship fund for Walton County students in pursuit of a military career. A third was added in 2015 when Denny Keegan donated a second casting of the Fallen Heroes Memorial to be placed at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida in honor of the 14 Security Forces who have been killed in action since 09/11. As the Foundation worked to raise the necessary funds, the AFJROTC GA 956 cadets stepped forward and offered their help. They have participated in 75% of the fundraising activities hosted by the Foundation, helping to raise the nearly $100,000.00 required to completely fund the two memorials that have been installed, another $5,000.00 at the Don't Be A Weaksauce Golf Classic that was donated for the construction of the Walton County Veterans Memorial, as well as $3,000.00 for the three, one-thousand dollar scholarships that have been awarded over the past three years. (2014 Andrew Deems, 2015 Ryan Lambert, 2016 Patrick Riggs).
Working with the Foundation also means coming in contact with quite a few veterans, as well as active duty Military and Civil Service personnel. The cadets have had the opportunity to speak to these valued heroes, and the career fields have become more than just a job title on a piece of paper. As soldiers, veterans, police, firemen, and EMTs become tangible identities, horizons are broadened, and the cadets get a sense of how just one person can have a far-reaching impact on people and communities.
Donations to the Foundation are accepted specifically for the Lt Helton Scholarship. While the Foundation hopes to increase the amount of the scholarship awarded this year, they are also building an endowment fund to ensure the Scholarship's future so Monroe Area High School students will remember that one of their own has had a far-reaching impact, and that even small-town students can grow to become very successful. Lt. Helton may no longer walk the halls of his old high school, but through this scholarship, his inspiration carries on.