Blog Post

Helen Barbrow

Women’s History Month

Helen Barbrow was born December 1, 1940 in Wytheville, VA but lived the vast majority of her life in Saltville. Mrs. Helen attended Emory and Henry College and after graduating became a teacher at Clifton Forge Elementary School. After moving back to Saltville, she became a teacher and librarian at Saltville Elementary School and spent most of her career there. She taught the children enrichment and would spend many hours with the children studying birds, wild flowers, and leaves. After her retirement, she remained involved in education by coaching the Northwood Elementary and Middle School Destination Imaginations teams. She was deeply passionate about nature and frequently helped children completing their nature based 4-H projects while she was a teacher but even after her retirement. Former students from Saltville frequently tell stories of Mrs. Barbrow stopping to help them on their leaf projects while she was passing by the well fields in Saltville. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Museum of the Middle Appalachians and proceeded to serve as president of the Museum of the Middle Appalachians. She also served on the Board of the Smyth-Bland Regional Library board. Helen was an advocate for her passions, for the community, and for our history. In Saltville, an interpretive trail has been opened in her memorial. The trail includes Ice Age facts, history of Saltville, and memorials to the Second Battle of Saltville. Helen was a woman who cared for others very deeply and made everyone feel included. She was an avid bird watcher and would spend many hours within the community watching the beautiful birds. Helen was loved by many in the community. She was always a helping hand to others in need. In 2006, as she was closing up the museum in Saltville, an elderly couple with their grandchild stopped by to visit the museum. While many would turn them away, Helen stayed and opened the museum back up for the group, also giving them a personal tour. Her compassion for others made her one of a kind. 

The Helen Williams Barbrow Interpretive Trail

Mrs. Barbrow impacted our community by her works but also through her kindness. She was a person who helped change the lives of many and the world for a better place. Her legacy still impacts our community as we strive to carry on the light she held.