Serviceman active with charities that assist soldiers
By HANNAH BAILEY Staff writer
Although he intended to serve his four years in the Army and get out, Nelson, 39, has served as an Army medical services officer for 17 years.
“It’s very satisfying to be in a leadership position and have a positive effect on soldiers I’ve been involved with,” Nelson said.
Nelson has been stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, for the past five years. He described his experiences in the military and the charities he works with during an interview at his parents’ residence, where he has spent time during the Fourth of July holiday while home on leave.
Nelson served his first one-year tour in Iraq from November 2005 through 2006 and just recently returned from his second year-long tour on May 14.
During his most recent tour, Nelson served as the brigade operations officer of what he called “the center of gravity” of the medical operation. He equated what he and his team did as similar to what a 911 emergency dispatcher would do for a city in the United States.
“The general population appreciates what we ve done,” Nelson said of the Iraqi people. “There are a lot of good things happening with Iraqi military,” Nelson added, explaining that over time the Iraqi military “has become much more capable of handling things on their own.”
When Lt. Col. Chad Nelson graduated from Meadville High School, he didn t know the first thing about college. He planned on joining the Army, but his parents, Ray and the Rev. Roberta Nelson of Kennerdell, convinced him to try a college education.
Nelson got the best of both worlds as a member of the ROTC program at Gannon University, where he majored in criminal justice.

Contact: ArmyBassAnglers
While in Iraq, Nelson worked in a facility that was heated and air-conditioned, so the experience wasn’t “horribly uncomfortable.”
The air-conditioning sure came in handy, however, as Nelson said the temperature was 107 degrees the day he left Iraq.
Army Bass Anglers
Nelson is also a member of the Army Bass Anglers of Texas. He appeared in Franklin’s Libertyfest Parade on July 3, sporting his new Army Bass Anglers boat to raise awareness for the charitable organization.
The Army Bass Anglers motto, “Support Defend Fish,” explains the group in a nutshell, but Nelson shared the mission of the group of 12 active duty or retired Army men. Through fishing tournaments and partnerships with sponsors and other organizations like Paralyzed Veterans of America and Heroes on the Water, the Army Bass Anglers is able to raise money and awareness for projects it supports.
One project is Returning Heroes Home that recently created a 12,000-square-foot facility run by volunteers. The facility, called The Warrior and Family Support Center, is located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and was created as an environment for wounded soldiers to spend their time.
“When they’re not actively undergoing treatment, (soldiers) don’t have any place to go,” Nelson said. The support center gives these soldiers a a place where “they can stay out of the public eye” and relax, Nelson continued.
The Army Bass Anglers were able to raise $300,000 over three years for the construction of the center and continue to raise funds for upkeep.
“It’s pretty humbling,” Nelson said of his charity work with the Returning Heroes Home project. “You see guys who are recently wounded…. trying to be independent (again).” Returning Heroes Home is hoping to add a 7-acre therapeutic park complete with walking trails, benches and stretching stations to the support center. Army Bass Anglers continues to raise funds to support the project.
“It’s fairly time consuming, but it s a lot of fun,” Nelson said. “Growing up around here, bass fishing wasn’t something I really did.”
More information about Army Bass Anglers may be obtained by visiting More information about Returning Heroes Home is available by visiting Donations may also be made through either site. Man in uniform
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Contact: ArmyBassAnglers
“We get thanked a lot,” Nelson said of military personnel. “It always leads to I don’t think I could do it, and I disagree every time.”
“A soldier is no more than an average person in extraordinary circumstances,” Nelson said.
He said the Army has provided him with a career, educational opportunities in life and schooling and a close-knit group of life-long friends.
But despite his accomplishments and experiences in the Army, nothing compares to his 8-year-old son, Joshua Nelson.
“I’ve only got a few years left of being Chad, the soldier. But I’ve got a whole lifetime of being a father,” he said.
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