At fourteen years of age Charles Helton dreamed of being a police officer. It all began while working with a landscaper that was also a Constable. Helton credits this Constable for impacting his life that led to becoming a police officer.
“I asked him what I needed to do to be an officer and he told me to stay out of trouble and make good grades,” Helton said.
Helton heeded his advice and after graduating from Pine Tree High School pursued his dream. At the age of 19 he graduated from a mini police academy and went to work at age 21 at the Rusk County Jail. After seven years had passed his dream was becoming a reality and he started living his dream.
Danny Pirtle, a former Sheriff, trained Helton. He worked for Pirtle for four years. As a young officer he moved up from an officer to a criminal investigator. For a short period of time he was appointed by the County Commissioners to fill in as Sheriff until a new Sheriff was elected.
When Jeff Price was elected Sheriff eight years ago Helton thought that he would return to being a criminal investigator but Sheriff Price promoted him to be the Chief Deputy where he served for eight years.
“Why me Lord, I know it was the Lord, I never lobbied for a position. I started at the jail, became a criminal investigator and eventually Chief Deputy for the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department,” said Helton.
After Rusk County voted for a new Sheriff last year Helton wasn’t sure of his future but he was convinced that his dream was not coming to an end. Indeed it wasn’t. After 20 years at the Rusk County Sheriffs Office he was offered a job at the Henderson Police Department as a Lieutenant.
Lt. Helton said, “This was a better opportunity for me at the Henderson Police Department. I will serve in a newly created position as Community Outreach/Training Coordinator. This is all part of God’s plan for me.”
For years you would see Helton around town in his signature cowboy hat and boots.
“I have ten cowboy hats and boots but now I will no longer wear a cowboy hat and will now be wearing loafers,” Lt. Helton said.
He went on to say that his previous career had been very rewarding and that he still loved it.
“I accomplished my goals and proud of the many cases I solved. One particular case took 12 years, I could have passed it on to someone else but kept after it until it was finally solved,” said Lt. Helton.
Once again Lt. Helton replied, “I give God the glory.”
It would be an understatement to say that Lt. Helton was a Christian. He is bold about his faith and relationship with his God. Behind his desk is a wooden cross with a peace officers badge in the center of it. On his desk is a Bible and from its looks it has been used many times.
During his spare time he works part time as a funeral director at Garmon Funeral Home here in Henderson and has done so for eight years. He recently received his mortuary license.
For the 2021-2022 year he will serve as President of the Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce. Last year Helton received the John Alford Man of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce. All one has to do is spend time with him and will quickly realize that he definitely deserved it.
Helton is a living example that if you dream big and work hard you too can live your dream.