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From one duty to another: Frisco City Council Member Tim Nelson returns from active duty
Frisco City Council Member Tim Nelson knows what it's like to serve. Not just his city, but also his nation. Nelson, a U.S. Army Reserves captain, is returning to his role as a council member this month after a year away.
Just six months after Nelson was elected to city council in May 2011, he left for Afghanistan. He returned home a few weeks ago and has quickly jumped back into his duties as an elected official.
For one of his first duties serving the residents of Frisco, Nelson attended a Texas Municipal League conference last week in Grapevine to learn about issues impacting cities across the state.
"I made a commitment to come to this conference, actually while I was still in Afghanistan," Nelson said. "I was elected by my community to serve them and represent them -- that's what I'm going to do right away."
Getting used to serving the city is taking some adjustment, Nelson said -- he called it a "transition period" -- although he's working as fast as he can to catch up.
During his time in Afghanistan, Nelson was unable to take part in city council activities because of department of defense guidelines that prohibit military personnel from issuing public comments on political matters. That didn't stop him from learning about city matters, however.
"I'm definitely behind on meeting with staff and other council members, but the city kept me up to date while I was overseas," he said. "I was able to stay informed, but I wasn't able to input any thoughts of my own during the [political] process."
With many developments happening in Frisco during his time off, keeping up with some of those changes could be difficult.
During his time away, the city reached an agreement with Exide to purchase the land owned by the battery recycling company, and The Arts Center of North Texas has essentially been defunded and is nearly dissolved.
"When you live in a community and the days go by one at a time, you have a tendency not to notice them as much," Nelson explained. "When you're gone for a year, those things are very noticeable when you get back. These larger issues are matters that aren't yet closed, though; they take a bit of time to work through. I'm glad progress has been made, but we're not done yet."
Though he clearly takes pride in his position as a council member, getting back into his city duty isn't the first thing on Nelson's mind. That honor belongs to his family, which he's looking to spending more time with after being overseas for so long.
"I'm making sure I spend every night at home, even during this conference," he said. "I've got my wife and kids 20 miles down the road, so I'm going to spend as much time with my family as possible."
Besides spending time with his family, however, Nelson's made it clear nothing will stop him from getting back in the swing of his city duties -- and enjoying life in Frisco.
"It's just great to be home," he said. "When my wife and I made the decision to move to Frisco 13 years ago, it was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. Right behind marrying my wife, of course."