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Don Helbig


IndyGuy4KI

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9 hours ago, Kathleen Lawrence said:

The GM and comms director did not like Don but they should show some class.

So maybe I’m not in the know but where did you get this information? Is there a bonafide source with reference we could see that these claims are true?

I’m upset Don’s stone is removed as well but I’m not privy to all of the information out there nor am I about to start a rumor mill about a man’s abrupt career change.

In my eyes Don is a private individual who had a private separation from Cedar Fair with professionalism and respect for parties involved. Which out of respect to Don I’m not delving into anything much more than that when it comes to the stone. That’s really it without stirring the pot any longer. 
 

He’s going to be missed, I’ve met the man twice at the park and he went above and beyond from what I’ve seen at the park. He has a legacy, he is practically a part of the KI legendarium. He’s the benchmark for PR professionalism and interactivity and the park won’t be the same without him. The fact he put up with a fanboy site about the park he worked at day in and day out is a testament to his dedication to the fans of the park. 

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4 hours ago, Kathleen Lawrence said:

It was obvious the comms director didn’t by their reaction when Don was presented with a card at Coasterstock. They were visibly upset. Several people witnessed their reaction. The GM wouldn’t allow the treatment with the tombstone unless they did not like him. 

Intentions are often very difficult to put together, particularly when a company with various financial directives is involved. Situations such as this are not always a personal vendetta, although they can be.

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12 hours ago, Tr0y said:

Just know other former employee tombstones had their names “removed” as well. This wasn’t an attack on any individual.

For example here is former GM, Greg Scheid’s tombstone with the lettering removed:

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Since this is a topic about the remembrance of Don Helbig, all those new ride (and event) announcements and teaser campaigns with Don Helbig and Greg Sheid back in the day were really awesome! In those days, the park would tease like crazy and hold in-person live announcements for basically all new additions no matter how small.

Off-topic, but Greg Sheid is also a big reason why Halloween Haunt was as good as it was. He absolutely loved the event and helped make it one of the best Halloween events at a regional amusement park in the country. It is sad to see the event’s slow decline over the years.

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I don't know what really to believe (and, honestly, not sure I care; the personnel issues within a regional amusement park don't necessarily impact my enjoyment of said park). 

I find it hard to believe that upper management -- the people who would have made the decision about Don Helbig -- would be petty enough to go search out a tombstone in the park and deface it. They likely pay little attention to that stuff; the decor doesn't get them dollars. Why would they care? And if his ousting from KI was a business decision, why would we jump to them thinking it was a petty personal thing? Many times, these decisions come down to money. It's not personal. 

But moreover, for the people who are intent on finding something to complain about with current management, there was no way of handling this that would have avoided any griping. Not put the tombstone out at all? They're erasing Don! Put it out with his name on there? They're mocking him by having a tombstone of the guy they fired! Just let it wear off or take it completely off? They're disrespecting Don's memory! 

I don't know Don Helbig. He seemed to be a great guy and he's a very fun and engaging social media presence. I hope he's doing well. But some of you are taking this worse than he seems to be.  

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20 minutes ago, cdubbs727 said:

I don't know what really to believe (and, honestly, not sure I care; the personnel issues within a regional amusement park don't necessarily impact my enjoyment of said park). 

I find it hard to believe that upper management -- the people who would have made the decision about Don Helbig -- would be petty enough to go search out a tombstone in the park and deface it. They likely pay little attention to that stuff; the decor doesn't get them dollars. Why would they care? And if his ousting from KI was a business decision, why would we jump to them thinking it was a petty personal thing? Many times, these decisions come down to money. It's not personal. 

But moreover, for the people who are intent on finding something to complain about with current management, there was no way of handling this that would have avoided any griping. Not put the tombstone out at all? They're erasing Don! Put it out with his name on there? They're mocking him by having a tombstone of the guy they fired! Just let it wear off or take it completely off? They're disrespecting Don's memory! 

I don't know Don Helbig. He seemed to be a great guy and he's a very fun and engaging social media presence. I hope he's doing well. But some of you are taking this worse than he seems to be.  

I was about to say something similar. Putting the name of a current, well known park employee on a tombstone is a nice gag. But putting the name of an employee that recently left? That can be taken the wrong way by a lot of people.

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On 9/24/2023 at 10:53 AM, Kathleen Lawrence said:

The GM and comms director did not like Don but they should show some class. Very disrespectful with the tombstone. Other former employees remain on display. 

Kings Island's marketing department reports to corporate, not to the park. I doubt Mike Koontz had any say in the decision of Don leaving. 

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I really miss seeing Don walking around the park. He would be out taking pictures, talking to guests, and your could feel his love for the park. Even if it was just a wave and a famous Don head nod, there was a sense of connection to the park that I really miss. 

I sure hope the park can one day get back to having that personal touch and public relations with guests and enthusiasts again. A missing hole that desperately needs filled. 

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35 minutes ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

I really miss seeing Don walking around the park. He would be out taking pictures, talking to guests, and your could feel his love for the park. Even if it was just a wave and a famous Don head nod, there was a sense of connection to the park that I really miss. 

I sure hope the park can one day get back to having that personal touch and public relations with guests and enthusiasts again. A missing hole that desperately needs filled. 

So for the record, does taking selfies with guests count or not ;)?

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1 hour ago, disco2000 said:

So for the record, does taking selfies with guests count or not ;)?

Only as long as Mr. Selfie has this huge grin like Gomer Pyle would have when he said "surprise surprise surprise!"

 

1 hour ago, Kathleen Lawrence said:

Can’t wait for Coasterstock! Got a lot of questions for Mr. Koontz and Mr. selfie. 

Will there be a Coasterstock next year?

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56 minutes ago, Orion-XL200 said:

We'll probably see articles with calls to KI being unreturned. 

Given the article says "expanded coverage of Cedar Point at the Sandusky Register" and Kings Island/Cincinnati isn't in the print territory of the Sandusky Register, nor is it owned by any media outlet with a presence in the greater Cincinnati area, I suspect that they are not looking for Don to make calls to KI....

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59 minutes ago, disco2000 said:

Given the article says "expanded coverage of Cedar Point at the Sandusky Register" and Kings Island/Cincinnati isn't in the print territory of the Sandusky Register, nor is it owned by any media outlet with a presence in the greater Cincinnati area, I suspect that they are not looking for Don to make calls to KI....

After congratulating him via text, I asked if he would write any KI articles, to which he replied “There will definitely be some KI articles but the focus will be Cedar Point.”

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Sure they may have an article or two about KI, but Don has many connections within KI that he could reach out to.

But even if they didn't return his call, Don is too much of a professional to call that out.  He has enough experience and history in the industry to still story tell without quotes from KI.

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This whole tombstone drama is bizarre perfect for hyper specific fan sites like this but honestly I'd bet no one thought about it all, it was put out with all of the other decorations, and when someone read this thread they figured they should do something about it given the halfass nature of how it looked. I bet there will be a Helbig tombstone next year and years to come. 

Can we get a tombstone for Banshee Ice Cream and Blue Ice Cream beer? 

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7 hours ago, Shawn Meyer said:

I know who the GM is, but who is the comm director?

Contrary to popular belief, but Don hasn't been the "PR person" AKA comms director since late 2017 when they hired Chad Showalter and Don moved over to the position of Area Manager, Digital Marketing.  

We even had a thread about it when it happened:

 

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