Dedication … and a True Hero

How can someone we never met be so dedicated to the forest, landowners, and Tree Farmers and give his life serving us?

An Arkansas Forestry Commission pilot, Jake Harrell, did not check in with the AFC Central Dispatch on January 31, 2014 while flying along a regularly scheduled wildfire detection route in south central Arkansas.  On the afternoon of February 11th his body was found in the wreckage of his plane.  Jake’s funeral was February 15th, and flags were ordered to be flown at half-staff that day by Governor Mike Beebe.

Jake was flying for and helping each and every landowner in Arkansas, and Jake, along with other AFC employees who died on duty, is a true hero.  As landowners we never say thanks enough to those that help us protect our lands from disasters that can severely impact our timber and lands.

But the real impact is on Jake’s family.  He leaves behind a wife and a two year old son.  A scholarship fund for Jake’s son has been established, and please join us in contributing what you can.  The Brayden Harrell Scholarship Fund has been set up for Jake and Jaime’s son at all Simmons First National Bank locations.  If you would like to mail in a donation you can send it to Simmons First National Bank, 2401 Crestwood Road, North Little Rock, AR 72116.  Please indicate the fund by name so it is credited to the correct account.

Jake was 34 years old and along with flying with the AFC since 2005, he was in the Arkansas Air National Guard 188th Fighter Wing and employed with the North Little Rock Police Department.  Truly a hero that will be missed by many and respected by countless others for his sacrifice.  Thank you Jake for your service and sacrifice.

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