Kelly Nelson was born Jan. 1, 1954, grew up in Walker and graduated from Walker High School in 1972.
He joined the Army after high school and was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for basic training. After basic training he was sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana, for his advanced individual training.
Kelly’s first assignment was at Fort Carson, Colo. He worked as an accounting specialist in the post confinement facility. Kelly spent 15 months in Colorado and then was sent overseas to Germany. He was assigned to the Military Police detachment that ran the U.S. Military Confinement Facility near Nuremberg
Kelly completed his enlistment in 1976 and returned to Minnesota. He went to St. Cloud State University and graduated in 1980. Kelly married his wife, Jeanne, in Walker in 1979. They raised three sons: Dominic, Neil and David.
At the ripe old age of 31, Kelly decided to join the Army National Guard in Eau Claire, Wis. He went to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1986.
He was next sent to Fort Belvoir, Va., for his Engineer Officer Basic Course. A year later, he and his family moved back to Minnesota, so he transferred to the Minnesota National Guard.
In 1990 Kelly had the opportunity to become the company commander at the Army Reserve unit in Walker. The Walker Reserve was an Infantry Unit so he had to attend the Infantry Officer Advance Course in Ft. Benning, Ga.
Kelly had a variety of assignments in the Minnesota National Guard and in 2003 was assigned to the Red Bull Division headquarters that was being deployed to Bosnia as part of the Stabilization Force. He was called to active duty again in 2009 to serve with the Minnesota National Guard Red Bull Division in Basra, Iraq.
In 2011, after 30 years of military service, Kelly retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Kelly taught and retired from 23 years of teaching at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School. He and Jeanne owned and operated Gramma Jo’s House, an assisted living facility in Walker, until they both retired in 2012.
Mike Nelson, an agent with Cedar Point Realty in Walker, compiled the information for this article that will highlight a different area veteran periodically.