A memorial service was held Saturday to honor the memory of Jake Harrell, a North Little Rock man who worked part time for the Arkansas Forestry Commission whose plane went down on Jan. 31 on a mountainside in Montgomery County. His body was found 12 days after the search began. He was also a police officer for the North Little Rock Police Department.
The service was held at the church of his family, First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, with the service being officiated by the church’s pastor, Rod Loy, who also acted as the family’s spokesman throughout much of the 12-day search effort.
Shortly after crews found Harrell’s downed plan and his body, the family issued a statement.
"Our hearts are heavy as we process the loss of Jake. Jake was a gentle, caring husband and father with a servant’s heart and a desire to serve others. Even as we grieve, we are comforted with the knowledge Jake is in the presence of His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," reads the statement.
The family expressed appreciation for everyone who helped in the effort to find Harrell.
"Over the course of the last 12 days, we have witnessed the best of Arkansas. The love and support we have received has been overwhelming," according to the statement. "We are thankful for our church family at First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and the many other agencies who helped find Jake. It is difficult to find words to express the depth of our gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated heroes who searched for Jake."
To honor the life of service and memory of Jake Harrell, a Brayden Harrell Scholarship Fund has been set up for Jake and Jaime’s son. This fund is open at all Simmons First National Bank and Metropolitan Bank locations. Donations can be taken to any of those banks; individuals should reference the fund by name to contribute.
"We will do all that we can to honor our brother and friend in the days to follow. We cannot begin to thank so many responsible for helping us bring him home. We stand in absolute gratitude and thanks to our partners and friends who have supported us through this incident," says Billy Black, Incident Commander and AFC Law Enforcement Officer.