"Dr. Nelson is a true home town hero," said Sean Ebner, president of Staff Care, which sponsors the award. "He is both an integral part of healthcare in the community he grew up in as well as one of its most caring private citizens."
Nelson grew up in Gibson City, located about 120 miles south of Chicago. From an early age he knew he wanted to be a doctor, a farmer, a pharmacist, and a cop.
"I had always wanted to go to medical school since I was five years old. And then a pharmacist came to our school during professions day and a doctor came after that. I thought it'd be good to have a pharmacy background before I went to medical school," he says.
With the guidance and support of pharmacy and physician mentors in Gibson City, Nelson first went to pharmacy school and worked in that field for a couple of years before going to medical school. He says being a pharmacist has helped his medical practice.
"I am not afraid to use medications when they come out," he says. "With aging patients or with kids, a lot of physicians don't have the background in pharmacy like I do, so they are afraid to give medications. Being a pharmacist I learned how to use the medications properly and when to use them in certain medical cases and I feel comfortable with medications. A surgeon has a scalpel. Well, I have my pen to order medications that make people well and I don't hesitate when it comes to that."