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Cannaday award honors county clerk Helmstutler
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Vickie Helmstutler (left) receives an honorarium as part of the Michael Cannaday Award from the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association. Presenting it are Christina Slate (center) and Clay Gravely, president and vice president, respectively, of the local bar. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Friday, April 25, 2014

By GINNY WRAY - Bulletin Staff Writer

Henry County Circuit Court Clerk Vickie Helmstutler received the third annual Michael Cannaday Award from the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association on Thursday.

The award recognizes a person in the legal community who contributes to the success of the administration of justice and embodies the spirit of service, good humor and outgoing personality exemplified by Cannaday, Christina L. Slate, president of the local bar association, said as she presented the award to Helmstutler.

Cannaday, a native of Henry County, has had a law office in Collinsville for 40 years. He was unable to attend Thursday’s presentation in the Henry County Circuit Courtroom because he is in ill health, Slate said.

He picked Helmstutler to receive the honor, and explained why in a letter that was read at the ceremony by attorney R. Reid Young III, who received the first Cannaday award.

“Our nominee this year is a great example of the service to our community that women such as she make every day,” Cannaday wrote. “This young lady inherited a great feeling of obligation to her community from her father, who expended many hours in service to the Bassett Volunteer Fire Department. She has faithfully served this community since 1976 as deputy clerk of the circuit court and since Jan. 1, 2000, as clerk of the circuit court.”

Helmstutler was given a plaque, $500 honorarium and other gifts.

She said she was “flabbergasted” to she received the award. She told the crowd of courthouse employees, lawyers, police officers and others that she had thought when she was elected clerk that there was no higher honor, and she felt that way again when she became a grandmother recently.

The Cannaday award, she said, “is the icing on the cake.”

Helmstutler said she worked with Cannaday for many years, starting when she worked in the “divorce division” and Cannaday handled many cases there. They both also are University of Virginia fans, she noted.

“For Mike (Cannaday) to consider me as a peer is the honor,” she said after the brief ceremony.

“We had a really good working relationship,” she said. With his outgoing personality and boisterous nature, “you always knew when he was in the office. It’s been too quiet here” since he became ill, she added.

Helmstutler’s husband, Barry; her mother, Lucy Stone of Bassett; her sister, Helen Boitnott of Rocky Mount; and other relatives and friends were present when she received the award.

She also is the daughter of the late Omer “Red Pole” Stone, who was a charter member of the Bassett Volunteer Fire Department from its beginning in 1953 until he died in 2009.

The Cannaday award was created by the bar association and Patrick County Circuit Court Judge Martin F. Clark, according to a release from the bar association.

“The bar association feels strongly that we need to recognize people involved in the justice system who make positive impacts well beyond the courthouse, and this award gives us that opportunity,” said bar association member George Lyle, who was president when the award was created. “Naming it after Mike (Cannaday) was an easy decision. He is a good friend to many members of the bar and has more than 40 years of service to the local justice system, the Jaycees, Boy Scouts of America, Rotary and many other worthwhile causes.”

The second annual award went to Henry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Lampkins, a court bailiff who escorted Helmstutler at Thursday’s ceremony.


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