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2013 Men of the Year Honoree: Shane Nelson

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Shane Nelson has a heart for Ozark families. As owner of Christian County’s oldest business, Ozark Abstract & Title, since 2011, Nelson has partnered with the Ozark Chamber of Commerce to initiate and sponsor two programs for Ozark students and teachers.

The New Teachers Appreciation Lunch kicked off last year with a surprise red carpet welcoming new teachers to the Ozark R-6 School District; the Adopt-A-Class program paired local businesses with elementary classes during the 2012–13 school year.

As mayor of the small town since 2011, Nelson has taken on a large role with the Care to Learn Ozark chapter fundraising committee. Committed to addressing the health, hunger and hygiene needs of Ozark students, Nelson developed the Mayor’s Weight Loss Challenge, the downtown Loft Waddle and is currently working on a fundraiser in conjunction with the Ozark Christmas parade.

However, Nelson says his proudest accomplishment to date is the Penguins & Princesses black-tie dinner. The second annual event benefiting Care to Learn Ozark, Nelson says 2012’s dinner was poorly attended and made little money.

“We decided to try again in 2013 and soon learned the talk around town was that there was no way a large formal event would ever raise a substantial amount of money in Ozark,” Nelson says of the event, co-sponsored with Todd Edwards, co-owner of Lloyds Cleaners and Mr. Dry Cleaners. “We turned the gymnasium of the Ozark Community Center into a ballroom and in one night raised $20,000 with nearly 200 guests in attendance.”

Nelson says the event proved naysayers wrong and he hopes to raise $30,000 through next year’s soiree.

“I have a lot of respect for Shane in that he has a business to run but commits to so many outside projects to help others in the Ozarks,” says Doug Pitt, Care to Learn founder and co-owner of ServiceWorld Computer Center LLC. “He tirelessly keeps signing up for more and is a person I can count on to get things done. I know his heart is to help people and I have seen him step up to the plate time and again.”

As a civic leader in Ozark, Nelson developed Partnership in Progress meetings to keep the Ozark School Board and Ozark Board of Aldermen on the same page while moving the community forward. The two-term mayor also hosts a monthly mayor’s breakfast to address resident concerns and a weekly Friday lunch with businesspeople to network and spur economic growth. Nelson says he has strived to make the city more efficient and customer-friendly.

“Any time a community group asks me for help, I give them my support 100 percent,” he says of his leadership style based on the principle of always being positive and professional while also being honest and straightforward. “A leader should be willing to do whatever is necessary to finish the project, even if it takes rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty.”

Nelson also is active in the Ozark Rotary Club and instrumental in starting the Bingo & BBQ fundraiser, which in its first three years provided more than $15,000 for Freedom’s Rest Domestic Violence Center and Least Of These.

“I will always donate my time, talent and treasure without reservation as long as I live in Ozark,” Nelson says.[[In-content Ad]]


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