Terry Nielsen‚ Engineer # 692‚ joined the South Bryan County Fire Department as a service to the Richmond Hill community in 2002. Little did he know when he signed up that it would become one of his later in life passions. He didn’t join to drive the fire truck or wear the gear. He did it to help a growing community staff its department and was willing to do whatever task was necessary. At times he could be quite outspoken‚ but he always cast a different light on the issues at hand. Terry was voted South Bryan County Rookie Firefighter of the Year in 2003‚ Georgia State Firefighter Rookie of the Year in 2004‚ and was presented with honors by Governor Perdue in Atlanta‚ Georgia.
On September 9‚ 2010‚ devastation and sorrow struck his family‚ friends and community. Terry lost the battle of his life but‚ as he taught them‚ his wife and family stand strong and carry themselves with dignity and pride. Terry never wanted to be the center of attention nor receive credit for things he did for others so unselfishly. Today‚ he is honored for his fire service‚ but he is also receiving credit for the selfless acts he did for others.
Born in Rangely‚ Colorado‚ to Terrell and Wanda Coy‚ and later adopted by William Nielsen of the U.S. Coast Guard‚ Terry spent his childhood living in Hawaii and numerous mainland coastal communities. Like a fairytale‚ he met his sweetheart‚ Kathy‚ in high school. They married and shared a life filled with the greatest love and happiness. They are blessed with two sons‚ Terrell and Jeff‚ along with four beautiful grandchildren‚ Hayley‚ Nathan‚ Jeffrey‚ and recent addition Blake. Terry was always an outstanding role model for his sons‚ preparing them to be the same kind of wonderful father that he had been for them. He loved coaching Little League baseball and taught many children the value of winning and losing. Family was always a priority‚ and he was an extremely involved father and husband. He also served as Master of Zerubbabel Lodge #15 F&M.
Recalling his fondest memories of his dad‚ Terrell reflects‚ ‘No matter how long a day Dad would have‚ he would always make time to do something with us every day.’ And this is why I loved him so much. Jeff refers to his dad as his hero and hopes he can be half the man his dad was known to be.
As Terry’s family‚ we hold our memories close in our hearts. The things we learned from this great man are always on our minds. He will forever be a part of our daily lives‚ and may his legacy live forever.