Reflecting on Maj. Gen. Helix’s local legacy

CONCORD, CA — Last month, we suffered a great loss with the death of retired Maj. Gen. Dan Helix, a former mayor and council member in Concord.

The Pioneer honored his life by publishing his accomplishments and personal story, and many others in the community shared their memories of him. Dan was my close friend, mentor and prayer partner. Since his death, I’ve found myself reflecting often on his legacy. You would be hard pressed to find an aspect of life in our community that Dan did not personally work on to improve.

He was an American hero and Korean War veteran who retired after an esteemed and decorated 41 years of service in both the Army and Army Reserve. However, his service to his country and community did not end there. During the 1960s and 1970s, Dan served as a mayor and council member in Concord and as a director of BART. He returned to the City Council in 2010 and served through 2016. It was during this time that I had the privilege of serving alongside Dan and had the opportunity to learn how he had shaped our community in the past and witness how he continued to lead.

The millions of memories made at the Concord Pavilion – from concerts to high school graduations to community events – all have a place in Dan’s legacy. During his service to the city of Concord in the early 1970s, Dan was instrumental in the vision and creation of the pavilion. He worked closely with local developer Ken Hofmann to retain land dedicated to the project. Decades later, he revived the pavilion by establishing a strong relationship with Live Nation and negotiating a contract that was more favorable for the city.

In the early 2000s, he co-chaired the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission, which advised the federal government on how to increase U.S. Department of Defense efficiency in part through the closure of military bases. Very few are aware of his service on BRAC, but it was instrumental in the closure of the Concord Naval Weapons Station and its eventual availability to the city of Concord. Even then, the major general had a vision for this land and how it could benefit our community as a long-term source of revenue.

When the Great Recession hit, the city of Concord had dangerously low reserves. Dan worked with his colleagues on the council to truly save our city and rebuild the reserves account to an astounding 30 percent. He always kept in mind the people and families of Concord, doing everything he could to serve them well and fairly.

During the recession, our public service officers in Concord personally sacrificed a lot in terms of wages and benefits, and did so voluntarily. Dan worked hard to make sure that our peace officers were made whole and secured a fair contract that aligned with the financial recovery of the city. He always had a heart for the people of Concord and the well-being of the city first and foremost, whether it be reducing fees, promoting local jobs or government efficiency.

This is just a brief snapshot of his service. In the time I was privileged to know him, I witnessed his love for his family and friends, his commitment to his fellow veterans and service members and his passion for improving our community.

I am comforted by the knowledge that his legacy will live on and the work of his life will continue to be felt by us all. Dan, I love you and I miss you sorely.

Reach Assemblyman Tim Grayson at (925) 521-1511. Visit or write the district office 2151 Salvio Street, Suite P, Concord, CA 94520