About Dennis Helmus

Dennis Helmus is a highly recommended and experienced Justice of the Peace who will help you celebrate your relationship with a customized ceremony that reflects the experience you wish to have on your wedding day.

Dennis became a Justice of the Peace when he was the Assistant Town Clerk in Greenfield, Massachusetts.  By virtue of that position he was entitled to become a Justice to officiate weddings for couples who chose to get married at Town Hall.  After changing jobs, he retained his Justice designation because of the happiness, fun and privilege it was to be part of people’s lives in one of the most important events in their personal and coupled history.

Dennis spent his youth in Illinois in the suburbs of Chicago, and received a bachelor’s degree in education and history after attending a private Dutch affiliated college.  He pursued graduate studies in special education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.  He has also resided in Iowa and Minnesota and was a certified K-9 school teacher for many years in Massachusetts, Illinois and Iowa.

He relocated to Massachusetts and lived for several years at Butterworth Farm, an intentional community in Royalston, Mass., arriving there in order to learn timber frame construction and organic gardening.  He worked as a carpenter, lumberjack, and later as a master baker for Baldwin Hill Bakery, which pioneered wood fired oven European style whole wheat organic sourdough bread in this region.  He has also worked as a professional interviewer, legal assistant and authored an employment guide for professionals in the field of employment law and practice.  

Later, he obtained a master’s degree in public administration from American International College in Springfield, Mass, with distinction.  This led to a career in public service, including his last position as director of human resources for the City of Greenfield.  He is a Senior Certified Professional in this field.

Having a long standing commitment to social justice and community involvement issues, he served as a founding Commissioner and former Vice Chair of the City of Northampton Human Rights Commission initiating the No Place for Hate campaign within the city in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League of Massachusetts.  He served as a member of the Massachusetts Hate Crimes Task Force of the United States Attorney’s office and office of the Attorney General; on the Town of Greenfield Domestic Violence-Free Task Force; a Peer Technical Expert for the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development, a certified Alcohol Abuse Counselor, and a certified Long Term Care Ombudsman thru the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.  He has also served as a board director or member on various other boards, committees and commissions for non-profits, government or as a mayoral appointee of the Cities of Greenfield and of Northampton.  He is a Notary Public for the Commonwealth.

He was active in the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, having served as a Coming of Age Mentor in the 8th grade program; as Coordinating Councils Chair and briefly on its Board of Trustees.  He is a devotee of many kinds of music, especially classical chamber music and has been a board member of Mohawk Trail Concerts in Charlemont, Mass., and Music In Deerfield in Deerfield, Mass., and then at Sage Sweeney Concert Hall at Smith College in Northampton (serving as its board president for six years).  He enjoys singing tenor and has performed with Amandla, Western Massachusetts’ social justice choir featuring South African and world music.  With Amandla, he was honored to meet and sing for Nelson Mandela at the Hatch Shell in Boston when he was freed from prison on his American tour, as well as meet and performing for Bishop Desmond Tutu at UMass with the South African group Barwa, and with Pete Seeger at Lincoln Center in New York City.  He also sang with the Pioneer Valley Gay Men’s Chorus for several years.

Among Dennis’ other interests are hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, theatre, dance, gardening and travel; having visited or travelled extensively throughout the United States (visiting 43 out of 50 states) as well as Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Andorra, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, Capri, Corfu, Crete, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Italy, Laos, Luxemburg, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam,  and regions of the former Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Slovenia).