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Nelson receives honor
Local businessman is 2013 winner of Jack Dalton Award
Barry Nelson, vice president of the Nelson Automotive Family, received the Jack Dalton Community Service Award by the Henry County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. (Bulletin photo)
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Barry Nelson, a local businessman who supports many programs in the community, was named the 2013 winner of the Jack Dalton Community Service Award, according to the Henry County Board of Supervisors.
Nelson received the award at the board’s 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday.
Nelson, 57, of Preston Road, is the vice president of the Nelson Automotive Family, which has automobile dealerships in several areas of the county.
He is heavily involved in community and sporting programs in Henry County, Martinsville and Patrick County, according to Chris Parker, who nominated Nelson. Parker is the vice president and senior athletic administrator at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).
“Barry is so involved that without his support, many things in those communities wouldn’t happen,” Parker said. Nelson is involved in “community service, working with local school systems and working with the colleges. And baseball is a very strong passion of his.”
A long-time supporter of local sports, Nelson is devoted to American Legion baseball, which he coaches, Parker said.
Nelson also is a long-time supporter of PHCC’s athletic program, Parker said. “Baseball is his favorite, but he is a strong supporter of the entire athletic program.”
In his new role as sponsor of the “Middle College and Great Expectations” program, Nelson donates cars to PHCC that are refurbished and used by GED students who are seeking higher education credentials — and also are foster youth — to use for transportation, Parker said.
“Barry also sponsors charities through his work, like when they have a sale,” with a portion of the proceeds earmarked for Grace Network, the Salvation Army and groups, said his wife, Patti Nelson. “He helps a lot of local charities and started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes” at PHCC.
The fellowship is a local organization that works overseas to help an orphanage, she said. Nelson also partners with churches involved with the organization to sponsor six annual events that are held locally to benefit the fellowship, Parker said.
Nelson supports local school divisions and the New College (NCI), and also sponsors the Teacher of the Year Award in the Henry County School Division, Parker said.
He has coached many sporting teams, and continues to coach some, Parker said.
“Barry is just a huge supporter of Martinsville, Henry and Patrick counties,” he added.
When Nelson has spare time, he “enjoys his grandchildren and his family,” according to Patti Nelson. The couple have two children, son, Lee Nelson and daughter, Christina VanNess, and two grandchildren, according to Parker and Tattie Nelson.
The Jack Dalton Community Service Award annually goes to the Henry County resident who best demonstrates the exemplary community service that marked Dalton’s years of public service. Dalton was a member of the Henry County Board of Supervisors for more than 24 years, and was serving as the board chairman at the time of his death on May 24, 2000.