Posted Monday, November 18th, 2019

Morris County Tourism honored three longtime supporters at their annual meeting last Thursday in Morristown.

Morris Tourism Awards Longtime Supporters from Morris Parks and The Seeing Eye

Morris County Park Commission’s Dave Helmer, Morris Tourism’s Lesley Bentley, and The Seeing Eye CEO Jim Kutsch with Easton. Photo courtesy of Morristown Green

Honored with Tourism Awards were The Seeing Eye CEO Jim Kutsch and his wife Ginger Kutsch, and Morris County Park Commission Executive Director Dave Helmer. Each was lauded for their contributions in supporting the goals and objectives of the Tourism Bureau.

For the last eight years, Jim and Ginger Kutsch have led a specially-created Seeing Eye walking tour around downtown Morristown as part of Tourism’s annual Walking Tour program. This tour is unique in that the couple discuss the whole process of obtaining and training a Seeing Eye dog. Jim Kutsch recently announced his retirement after serving as CEO of The Seeing Eye for 13 years.

While walking tours are mainly aimed at the adult heritage tourist, the Seeing Eye tour is very popular with children, many of whom are trying to convince their parents that the family MUST HAVE a puppy to foster for a year. This tour sells out every time.

Dave Helmer, the executive director of the Morris County Park Commission is also a tourism board member and an important partner in telling the story of Morris County as a visitor’s destination. He was an early supporter of a program to create signs to lead drivers directly to historic sites.

Dave served as director for a time when the tourism bureau was under the auspices of the Park Commission, and has continued his support of the agency since it became an independent organization in 2006. Based on acreage, Dave runs the largest county park system in New Jersey, serving as steward to over 20,000 acres of parkland, with 38 facilities, and three historic sites:  Cooper Gristmill, Historic Speedwell and Fosterfields. Some of the most informative and creative public educational programs offered to visitors are held each year at these three historic sites.