We’ve all heard the term “shade tree mechanic,” which so aptly describes the origins of Helton’s Wrecker Service & Repair.
Helton’s began in 1963 under an old oak on Center Street, repairing vehicles to pay for their first wreckers. One of which was a 1956 GMC ‘Big Wrecker’, still part of the current fleet.
When Helton’s comes to mind, most people think of Bill Helton. But as is the case with most long-standing businesses, this is a family business.
Bill and Bobbi have three children: David, Shelley (son-in-law Max Young) and Scotty; and two grandchildren, Karyn and Kyndell; all of whom have worked at Helton’s throughout the years, along with extended family members.
Most folks remember the original DX station located on Front and Prairie streets in 1975.
The kids would ride their bikes to the station, and at the age of nine, David would stand on a milk crate to wash windshields.
Helton’s has always provided 24/7 dispatch, which in the early days literally meant sitting by the phone. Later, Helton’s moved to Dave Ward Drive near I-40 and had the restaurant known as The Lunch Box.
Bobbi delivered daily specials which Shelley prepared.
The Helton’s have a wrecker and recovery service, a full service mechanical shop and a U-Haul subsidiary.
Prior to Bill opening his own business, he worked for Conway Corporation for 16 years, being promoted to the position of equipment supervisor. Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army serving eight years, from 1962-69 — seven years in the 806th Construction Support Unit and one year in combat engineering.
He was elected Constable for the Cadron Township in Faulkner County for eight years, from 1977-85. He was also an elected Justice of the Peace in Faulkner County. From 1975-83, Bill was on the Faulkner County Fire Committee to organize countywide fire departments and served on the Wescon Fire Department Board for 10 years. Bobbi worked part-time at CRMC as a certified EMT and would often meet Bill at accident scenes.
Bill was appointed to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board from 1990-93, serving three years as chairman.
During this same period, he was appointed to the Arkansas State Police Towing Board and helped establish new rules for towers on the State Police Wrecker Rotation List. He has also served on the Professional Towing and Recovery Association of Arkansas (PTRAA) as their political consultant to the Arkansas State Legislature, as well as their membership committeeman.
Bill is currently serving an appointment to the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton’s Auto Collision Technology Advisory Committee.
Helton’s has always been very involved in community affairs.
Bobbi is a strong supporter of Renewal Ranch, South End Zone tailgate supporters at UCA, and the Toad Suck Car Club. Also, Shelley was instrumental in the arrangements made for the painting and restoration of the pink fire truck for the Conway Fire Department in the Hearts on Fire campaign to support cancer patients.
Through the years, they’ve had trying and entertaining times but have “Always Been on Their Tows.”