NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Pea Ridge Mayor Jackie Crabtree and Washington County Tim Helder were honored by Congressman Steve Womack on Wednesday for their decades of service to their district as they head into retirement.

The following speech was given in dedication to Mayor Crabtree.

“As a former Mayor myself, I have high standards for those in the position. And—I can say with certainty—Jackie has been a distinguished leader.

Few can remember a time in Pea Ridge when Jackie wasn’t the mayor.

To love, to serve, and to promote Pea Ridge have been the pillars of his service.

There is no growth project or improvement of consequence that has happened in the last quarter century that doesn’t have the fingerprints of Mayor Crabtree on it.

From new sidewalks, parks, and sewer infrastructure to city buildings, walking trails, and water lines, his vision has transformed the city. 

He also led many firsts. He was the first full-time mayor, brought in the first full-time fire and paramedic departments, and even started the Christmas tree lighting and decorations downtown to name a few.

Those examples only scratch the surface of his accomplishments.

To me, there is no greater illustration of his success than the thousands of new residents who have flocked to Pea Ridge. It’s a vibrant destination—one where people want to live, work, and raise their families.  

Jackie, congratulations on a terrific career and a life of serving your community.

Your hard work has been instrumental to building a better future.

While I know your high school sweetheart, Freida, son Eric, and granddaughters will enjoy the extra time you’ll have for them—know your leadership will be sorely missed.

My friend, I welcome you to the former mayors club! Congrats!”

Congressman Womack then gave his speech in honor of Sheriff Helder.

“For nearly 4 decades, he has nobly worn the badge. His heart for service is core to his character; it could even be argued that it’s in his blood. That point is only further reiterated by the fact that both his father and grandfather also wore the uniform. I know they would be proud.

It’s poignant that his law enforcement career is beginning and ending at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. After starting as a dispatcher, he attended the police academy and went on to work for the Fayetteville Police Department, where he climbed the ranks.

After 21 years in Fayetteville, he returned to Washington County and holds the honor of being the longest-serving sheriff in their history.

On a personal note, I will miss the Sheriff Breakfasts he would host for the community as a time to catch up, build trust. I hope that tradition will be carried on by his successor. 

When reflecting on his career, I could list his many accomplishments or accolades, or the names of the men and women he has helped lead, but I want to read the creed on his challenge coins:

‘I pledge before God and my community to faithfully perform my duties with integrity, professionalism, respect and fairness. I will bring a good attitude to work and take responsibility for all of my actions. I will have the courage to do the right thing for the right reasons without exception.’

More than just words, that is how Sheriff Helder has lived his life.

The Third District is safer and stronger because of his service.

Thank you for your principled integrity. I wish you a blessed retirement.

I yield back the balance of my time.”

Sheriff Helder’s retirement will go into effect on Jan. 1 while a celebration is set for Mayor Crabtree on Dec. 16.