Eric Nielsen deserves to win the Gentleman Showcase because he is the most caring, kind person I know. And while you may be tempted to discount my words since I’m his wife, hear me out. Eric is a rare gentleman, not only because of the way he treats me, but also because of how he treats everyone.
I first met him in 2012 and was immediately struck by his engaging personality and genuine interest in others. A few years later, I was going through a particularly dark period in my life. Although Eric and I still hardly knew each other, when he found out something was wrong, he immediately set aside time after work to talk with me (for hours!), just to make sure I was going to be OK. It wasn’t until afterwards I found out he’d postponed his own birthday party for that conversation.
Later, when my car was totaled in an accident, Eric took time off work and drove me nearly 100 miles to pick up a new car.
Eric consistently offers this same self-sacrificing care to everyone – not just me.
It took me years to figure out he was an introvert, because he always goes out of his way to say hello, make new friends and take an interested in people. He not only remembers details about individuals that others would most likely forget, but also actively looks for ways to meet their needs, no matter how big or small.
Eric has worn numerous hats in the time I’ve known him: music teacher, salesman, print production manager (just to name a few). In each of these positions, Eric found unique ways to serve others.
When he was teaching music, for example, he regularly went out of his way to be a positive influence in his students’ lives. He saw them as not just as music students, but as individuals with hopes, dreams and fears. Day in and day out, he would patiently listen to their problems at school, their struggles with anxiety and depression and everything else they faced. Oftentimes he was one of the only people who took the time to listen to his students’ struggles. And he did everything he could to help them tackle fear and achieve their dreams.
Eric’s self giving doesn’t stop outside of work. In the time I’ve known him, he’s fixed numerous peoples’ cars for free, built swing sets for friends’ children, volunteered his time doing photography and videography for our church, donated his time creating graphic designs for nonprofits, and spent countless hours building up the people in his life.
He is a gentleman in every sense of the word and absolutely deserves this honor.