The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce has named Terry Helbig as the 2020 Honorary Golden Ambassador of the 53rd Annual Autumn Glory Festival. The announcement was made at the Chamber’s Virtual Autumn Glory Kick-Off Event on October 7, 2020. The Golden Ambassador sponsor is Mlend and the Platinum Sponsors of the Kick-Off Event were First United Bank & Trust and Premier Power Solutions, LLC. Patriot Automotive Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram: King of the 4WD is the title sponsor of the 53rd Annual Autumn Glory Festival.
The Golden Ambassador is awarded by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce to a person who has contributed to and supported tourism in Garrett County. The Golden Ambassador is selected by a committee of former Golden Ambassador winners.
“On behalf of the Chamber and the tourism community, I offer sincere congratulations to Terry on being named the 2020 Honorary Golden Ambassador,” said Nicole Christian, Chamber President and CEO. “Terry is so deserving of this recognition. His passion and commitment for turning the Oakland train station into the B&O museum has created a wonderful experience for visitors and residents. He is a humble servant of this community and I am pleased that we are able to show appreciation for his tireless efforts.”
Terry was born and raised in Garrett County and learned the insurance industry from his father, James Helbig, who worked at an insurance agency in downtown Oakland. Terry founded his own insurance company, Helbig Insurance Agency, in downtown Oakland in 2006 with his late wife, Kathy. With a keen interest in local history and a desire to share that history with residents and visitors, Terry worked with the town of Oakland over the course of several years to turn the town’s 1884 railroad station into a museum. Since the creation of the Oakland B&O Museum, Terry has directed its remodeling and helped to create its exhibits. The Oakland B&O Museum and Train station now features local artifacts celebrating Garrett County’s history, hosts rotating exhibits and showcases artifacts from the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Since the museum’s opening, Terry has hosted a wide variety of groups to the museum and given tours to residents and guests. In addition to hosting visitors to the museum, Terry has also recently worked to obtain funding for the purchasing, and restoration, of a steam locomotive for display on the grounds of the Museum; that steam locomotive is now a popular addition to the B&O Train Station and Museum.
A staunch supporter of Oakland, Terry currently serves as a Board Member of the Garrett County Historical Society, where he has been an active member for over 25 years. The Historical Society Museum houses a treasure trove of exhibits related to the founding of Garrett County, the history of the area and the way of life for Garrett County citizens from years past. The Historical Society Museum features 9 rooms dedicated to Garrett County history including Arts & Recreation, Schools, Hotels, Military, Cabin, B&O Railroad, Garrett, Industrial, and Victorian. Most recently, Terry worked to obtain a state legislative grant to correct issues from the Wilson Creek Channel that runs under the Historical Society’s Museum building, ensuring this popular historical site remains open for years to come.
Terry is a current member of the Oakland-Mountain Lake Park Lions Club, where he previously served as President; a charter member of the BPO Elks and currently serves as the Chairman of the Oakland B&O Museum, the committee operating the 1884 station for Oakland. Terry has served as a council member on the Oakland Town Council since 2018, after previous stints in the 1980s and from 2006 – 2009. Terry is also a member of the newly formed Oakland Cemetery Committee with a mission to help preserve local monuments.