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Boreal Community Media

Tom Nelson named citizen of the year

Aug 12, 2017 09:03AM ● By Editor
By Brian Larsen - The Cook County News Herald - August 11, 2016

Citizen of the Year Tom Nelson Tom Nelson, head of Cook County School District I.S.D. maintenance and bussing, was named 2017 Cook County Citizen of the Year for his tireless work and great attitude.

Tom couldn’t attend the Fisherman’s Picnic parade because he had another commitment, so he wasn’t in a car waving to the crowd. That’s hardly a surprise to those who know him well.

In one of the nominating letters the Grand Marais Lions Club received about Tom, the writer stated, “Tom works tirelessly to ensure that our school is not only clean, but safe. Many days in the winter he is up at 3 or 4 a.m. to plow snow, ice sidewalks and then he works a full day, always with a smile on his face, ready to help wherever he’s needed. 

“We at Cook County schools can’t thank Tom enough. The students so enjoy seeing Tom and he is always willing to help them any way he can.”

A second letter writer stated, “His work touches nearly every family in the county. Tom is tireless in his efforts and always radiates a positive attitude towards kids and adults. He volunteers every year for several Y events like the Easter egg hunt, fundraising events, and even drives skiers on his own time to practices at Lutsen. He never seems to sleep in the winter, vigilantly monitoring weather reports so that buses run safely and employees arrive to plowed parking lots. No request, no extra demand is ever grumbled over nor refused. I can’t even list all the ways he helps kids and families in our area.”

Last, a third nomination for Tom listed too many things to mention here, but highlights of that letter included, as transportation director for I.S.D. 166, “Tom worked very hard to be sure students with disabilities have appropriate, effective and safe transportation to and from school. This includes extra efforts and research to buy and maintain special vehicles that not only helped students but take care of employees who help them.

Mow, mow, mow, shovel, shovel, plow. Enough said! I never come to work and have to worry about dangerous sidewalks or slippery surfaces. He oversees a crew of fabulous staff!

And the football and athletic fields are groomed with care and pride....even if he is putting in extra hours.” 

Tom is a Kids Plus Committee member with his wife. As a member of this nonprofit community organization, he always shows a true and honest commitment to the natural fabric of this small community and especially to its children and youth.

Sometimes we do a job simply because we love it. Tom Nelson leaves that impression on all of his work.”

None of the letter writers mentioned it, but Tom also has put in considerable time helping with the robotics team. 

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