Home News Local News Retired energy employee is active on the ground and in the skies

Retired energy employee is active on the ground and in the skies

Stan Nelson

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

You could say two of Stan Nelson’s avocations go far up into the atmosphere while the other is clearly grounded on earth.

A resident of Roswell since 1968, Nelson is squadron commander of the local Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a nonprofit organization that is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and assists in search and rescue missions. The organization also is active in attracting young people to the fields of aviation and aerospace.

The other interest that takes him off the ground, so to speak, is his passion for radio astronomy. His home office is filled with computers and electronic gadgets, and with that equipment he can track meteor activity.

He even has his own website, roswellmeteor.com, and has had a few of his articles published by online publications.

“It keeps me out of trouble,” he quipped.

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The interest that keeps his head on the ground instead of up in the skies is his work with the Roswell Literacy Council.

When Nelson retired from the Transwestern Pipeline Co. in 2002, he said he needed something to do.

“I saw an article looking for tutors,” he said. “I’ve been tutoring off and on and have been the board president.”

Nelson said people would be surprised by the number of different nationalities that come through Roswell.

“They come through here and want to improve their English,” he said. “It’s been rewarding helping them improve and prepare for their citizenship test.”

The Chaves County chapter of CAP has been struggling with dwindling numbers over the past several years, but Nelson said things have started to pick up lately thanks to a priest at Assumption Catholic Church, Fr. Jaroslaw “Jarek” Nowacki, who’s been active in bringing in new members.

Nelson is from Niagara Falls, New York, where he joined the Air National Guard, a reserve force of the U.S. Air Force.

“I thought it would be cool,” he said of his decision to sign up.

Then the Berlin Crisis came along in 1961, which ended with the erection of the Berlin Wall.

Nelson said he was deployed to Berlin for 13 months near the end of his six-year commitment. Nelson and his wife, Karen, had one child at that time.

After his deployment, the couple moved to Houston and then onto to a small town called Kermit, Texas, where Nelson worked for RCA. He picked up two-way radio as a hobby during those years.

Next, Nelson worked for Transwestern, which changed ownership several times during his 34 years with the company. In 2002, the year he retired, Transwestern’s owner was the fabled Enron Corp., which became a Wall Street darling only to collapse like a rickety barn in a Category 5 tornado. At its peak, Enron shares were worth just over $90, but when it declared bankruptcy in December 2001, the shares were worth a measly 26 cents.

Unlike thousands of employees of Enron and its affiliated companies who lost both their jobs and life savings, Nelson said he was fortunate to have planned an early retirement, so he was able to get out without losing much money.

Stan and Karen have been married for 59 years. They have two daughters, a son, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Nelson is very engaged with radio astronomy, keeping track of meteor and solar activity everyday.

And he is very devoted to his work with the Roswell Literacy Council.

“I plan to do it for as long as I can,” he said.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.

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