Jeff Nelson served with the 172nd light arctic infantry brigade at Fort Richardson, Alaska from Oct. 1973 to May 1976. He was part of a combat support company that specialized in Redeye air defense missiles. Nelson attained the rank of Sergeant at the time of his discharge.
It was in Anchorage, Alaska, that Jeff joined Spenard Post No. 1 of the Alaska American Legion while still on active duty.
After being discharged, Nelson moved back to his home state of Wisconsin and pursued an associate degree in livestock management from Blackhawk Technical institute. He then joined a local Legion post at Barneveld, Wisconsin, and maintained his membership there until moving to Montana in 1983.
Jeff is a 43-year member of the American Legion and has held all post positions at his home post, Polson Hardwick No. 112, including post commander twice. He has been District 4 Commander, Western Zone Commander, Department Sergeant-at-Arms and Department Vice Commander.
He has traveled to many of the leadership workshops when they were held throughout the Northwest region of the United States. Nelson chaired the Department Oratorical Committee for three years, the Department Finance Committee for three years, and served as a member of the Americanism Committee at National for four years. He has been serving on the board of directors for the Mission Valley Mariners Legion Baseball team since its beginning in 1989.
He has been a part of the Montana American Legion delegation at the National Conventions seven times.
Nelson’s community involvement includes being past Grand Knight of the Polson Knights of Columbus, Chairman of the Friends of the Montana American Legion, NRA banquet and fundraiser for three years, the Veterans Honor Guard, and volunteering with the 4-H Shooting Sports for several years as an instructor.
Nelson started his own business in 1990 and has been running Nelson Dairy Service since then.
The business supplies and sells dairy equipment to dairy farmers in three states. Nelson is married to Christine Nelson and they reside in Polson. They have four children and seven grandchildren.