In Memory of Helen David
The Helen David Bartender Relief Fund honors the memory of the beloved Port Huron, MI bar owner and community leader for whom the foundation is named. Beating breast cancer twice during her life, Helen David is an inspiration to those living with the disease. In her name, the HDBRF assists women in the bar industry who are taking on breast cancer with the dignity and courage Helen displayed through her battle, and exemplified throughout her life, as a pioneer business owner in the bar industry.
Born in Pt. Huron in 1937, Helen was a trailblazer. Women owned businesses were rarely heard of at the time, but that did not deter Helen! Helen opened her own bar, the Brass Rail, which became an institution in her town. Helen loved her bar and ran it for 69 passion-filled years. Helen was active in the bar industry through the Licensed Beverage Association, and served as president of the St. Clair County Association and on committees for the Michigan Association. According to her fellow townspeople, “Helen was a fixture in Port Huron for 69 years as the owner of the Brass Rail. She was considered by most people as the heart and soul of Port Huron.”
Helen also dedicated herself to community service. She believed that community meant helping one another through times of need. Helen lovingly served through a diversity of projects and organizations including: United Way, Muscular Dystrophy, New Catholic Central High School, Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau, Senior Citizens causes, the People’s Clinic and St. Jude’s Hospital (of which she was a Founding member).
She was honored by her community for her service with numerous awards including: the 1974 Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Service Award, the 1975 Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Appreciation Award, the 1975 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Lebanese Syrian Club, 1983 Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Outstanding Membership Award, 1985 Woman of the Year Award, 1986 Spirit of Port Huron Award, 1987 Sports Hall of Fame Award and 1999 Women of Distinction Award by the Blue Water Council of Girl Scouts.
Celebrating the Life of a Trailblazer
Helen’s zest for life was legendary. When she wasn’t running her bar, or serving as a leader in her community, you could find the free-spirited Helen fishing, golfing or enjoying sporting games like bowling, baseball, softball and hockey. She is remembered for the enthusiasm she exuberated in each and every one of her vibrant years.
According to Tony Abou-Ganim, Helen was an inspiration to many—especially to a young boy that grew up learning the trade in her bar:
“I grew up in the bar business. My cousin Helen David opened the Brass Rail Bar in Port Huron, Michigan in 1937. I enjoyed many Shirley Temples while watching my uncles tend that beautiful bar before imbibing my first legal cocktails on April 14, 1978. I later went on to learn the craft from Helen and my Uncle Charlie and Cousin Tony in 1980. Guess you could say bartending is in my blood. My earliest influence came from my Cousin Helen, who taught me, ‘For a nickel more, you go first class!’”
Official Charity of Beverage Blowout
Beverage Blowout is honored to celebrate Helen David by honoring Helen’s dedication to lending an open hand, and open heart, to those in need. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from the Pub Crawl and Tony’s mixology seminar, as well as part of the proceeds from the remaining events, to those in the bar industry living with breast cancer. Through the Helen David Bartender Relief Fund, Beverage Blowout continues Helen’s work and extends her inspiration and influence, for generations to come.