Sperry Van Ness® 2012 Humanitarian of the Year, Walter Helm

Walter Helm, 2012 Humanitarian of the Year with SVNIC President & CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo
Walter Helm, 2012 Humanitarian of the Year with SVNIC President & CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo

Walter Helm was an easy choice for the Sperry Van Ness® 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award. This award is given to the advisor who makes an extraordinary effort to give back to his or her community. Walter, managing director of Sperry Van Ness/Walter Helm in Sacramento, California, has truly shown extraordinary leadership in SVN’s Leads for Good initiative and in a wide range of other humanitarian work.  Walter has made an incredible impact through his commitment to training dogs for the Canine Companions for Independence program. A dedicated Rotarian, Walter has been involved in many local and regional fundraisers.

Walter Helm has a lifelong commitment to philanthropic activities. He has been actively engaged in volunteer fundraising for various organizations in the Sacramento area; he has served as a volunteer emergency medical pilot; a volunteer fireman; and even spent six weeks on a motorcycle ride fundraiser around Australia for Rotary’s Polio Plus program.

Perhaps Walter’s most interesting philanthropic effort was being a board member and a volunteer pilot for Airlifeline. Walter completed numerous charity flights using his own airplane and paying all expenses. On short notice, Walter was able to deliver small pox serum from San Jose to Yuba City, starting the flight from Cameron Park at 2:00 a.m. to complete the flight in four hours. He also flew a liver transplant team back and forth from Sacramento and Concord to Santa Rosa.

As a long-time active member of his Rotary Club, Walter ran a tutoring program, which had more than 80 volunteers helping 7th and 8th graders one-on-one to learn to read. In 2011, Walter was awarded the Rotarian of the Year Award by the Point West Rotary club in Sacramento.

Walter Helm
Walter Helm and a service dog from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).

Walter truly enjoys training service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), something he has been doing for the past ten years. The dogs transform lives of kids and adults by providing physical assistance and emotional support. Walter works with each dog for 18 months. Nalani, a Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever, was the dog he trained most recently. She now “works” at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco helping kids cope with pain and provide motivation to get out of bed after surgery

Currently, Walter is working with the SVN Leads for Good™ program to help Community Benefit Organizations (CBO). The program is very simple: once a lead comes from the CBO for the sale or lease of real estate, 10% of the commission is given back to the organization upon close of escrow.


Sperry Van Ness | Walter Helm

Walter Helm

Managing Director

Sacramento, CA


*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.