Helberg to be honored at game

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The Esko Sports Alliance will hold “Davis Helberg night” at the football game Friday, Sept. 7. There will be a short ceremony honoring Helberg prior to the boy's varsity game against Two Harbors. Helberg will be leaving the ESA secretary's position.

Born and raised in Esko, Helberg, 77, has traveled to 55 countries, been a sailor, a dispatcher of ships, a newspaper sports and news reporter, all leading to a long-running career as the Duluth port director.

Upon retirement, he found time to devote to the things about his hometown he loves, working with the ESA as its secretary; writing stories for the Pine Journal he believed were needed; co-writing and editing the definitive history of Thomson Township “Esko’s Corner;” and, more recently, writing a book, “Thomson Township’s Night of Terror,” about the 1918 fire.

Russ Davidson, who worked with Helberg as an ESA board member, noted that Helberg was instrumental in starting the Esko Sports Hall of Fame.  

“Davis has been a wonderful mentor who has left his heart print not only on Esko sports, but the Esko community,” said Davidson, also praising Helberg for devoting five years as “the guiding author” of “Esko’s Corner,” which he called a masterpiece.

Now in the grip of small-cell lung cancer, Helberg is in hospice care at home, and focused on yet another book — this one a collection of essays and anecdotes he’s calling “Did I Ever Tell You …”