Teresa and Wayne Nielson will serve as the Huntington Heritage Days grand marshals.
Wayne and Teresa Nielson have been chosen as the grand marshals for the Heritage Days celebration. The celebration begins with the rodeo on June 28-29 and activities July 2-4.
Wayne has been a resident of Huntington his entire life and Teresa came to the area from California when she was in high school. Her father came to work at the power plant. Wayne's father John along with his brother Claire were the founders of Nielson Construction.
Wayne said, "One thing I learned while growing up was how to work. We were always working on the farm or on equipment it seemed, when other kids were playing. One time I remember we had 40 acres of potatoes to weed, water and dig. Some of the boys in town helped us haul hay and with the potatoes. The business started with one bulldozer when my dad and Claire returned from the Army and it's grown from there. Our son John takes care of most of the business now as Teresa and I prepare to go on a mission. I know my mom was a great support to my dad through the years. The construction business is tough and filled with ups and downs. Teresa has been there with me since high school. She was my high school sweetheart. She's been very supportive over the years."
Teresa said, "My dad was a crane operator and he flew out here to work and helped put up the stacks and towers at the power plants. I was born in Provo, but we moved to California. At age 15 and a half we moved to Emery County. I wasn't very happy about it at the time. I remember my friends waving at us from the overpass as we left. I vowed then I would return to California when I was 18, but when I married a hometown boy that didn't happen. This is the best place for raising a family. There's no place else I'd rather live."
Wayne agrees completely, "When we lost our son James in a car accident, everyone rallied around us. That was our biggest nightmare, but with the help of the community we made it through. The Lord blessed us with the support and love we needed at that time. I didn't know what compassion was until we went through that experience."
The Nielsons will celebrate their 37th anniversary in July. They have four children, John (Ashley), James, Jesse (Gwen) and Jennifer (Jesse). They have 12 grandchildren with one on the way.
"We are very blessed to have our children close. John operates Nielson Construction now and I'm available to offer advice, Jesse has a car dealership J&N Auto and he manages the farm and cattle operation and Jennifer lives in Spanish Fork and her husband Jesse has an insurance business and recently they put a new location in Huntington," said Wayne.
Teresa said they were recently released from the young single adults ward in Price where Wayne was the bishop. Their last seven years have been filled with activities with the YSA including church in Price and Castle Dale on Sundays and family home evenings on Mondays. Each year they also took the young single adults on a trip. Three times they have been back to Nauvoo and they have loved these trips with the young single adults. Teresa said, "Serving with the young single adults has been an unforgettable experience. It has created memories that will last forever."
They are looking forward to more time with the grandchildren attending their ball games and trips to the cabin. Each grandchild near their birthday gets to pick an activity to share with grandma and grandpa.
Jennifer has four children and her baby little James when he was four months old had some tough times. The doctors had to do an extensive surgery where they removed his skull and reshaped it and added a flexible material so his brain could expand because he didn't have a soft spot or room for his brain to grow. He was in and out of the hospital. The Nielsons call little James their miracle grandbaby. They are so grateful for their children and their grandchildren and the joy they bring into their lives.
"I'm just the luckiest guy in the world that Teresa has put up with me all these years. Through the stresses and demands of owning your own business. We would have something planned and something would come up at work. She is always very patient and understanding," said Wayne.
Teresa said, "We have been so blessed to have so many wonderful people work for us through the years. In construction it's either feast or famine. We've always had a hard time with lay-offs. We try to keep people working as long as possible and sometimes we've been able to keep people working through the winter. It's tough having a small business, but it's very worthwhile. Helping our community and creating jobs."
Wayne said, "We have incredible people who work for us. I like the challenges that come with a business and I like to be in a position to help people. We take pride in helping make Huntington a better place to live."
"We really contribute all our success to the Lord. Without him we wouldn't have anything. We love our Lord, our country and our family. We've done a lot of praying along the way," said Teresa.
Wayne said, "I've relied on prayer to help with the trials and challenges on the job."
Teresa said, "Grandpa John used to say we don't have trials, but experiences that make us grow."
Wayne said they were taught at a young age to always work for what you get and they started their children working at a young age also.
"We are blessed to live in this community and have the family and friends we do," said Wayne.
Another enjoyable time for Teresa was when they worked one day a week at the Manti Temple. "It's one of our favorite places to go," said Teresa. Wayne and Teresa have visited all the temples in Utah and most recently attended the Monticello Temple with the young single adults.
One tradition the Nielsons have kept going is a visit to St. George at Easter. When Teresa's parents were alive they lived in St. George and a visit with them on Easter was started when the Nielson's children were small. Teresa said it's hard now that her parents are gone, but the children have such happy memories of that trip they wanted to carry on the tradition for their own children. The Nielsons are firm believers in tradition whether it comes to work or play.
Living in Huntington is just the best of all worlds, you have the mountains and the desert. "It's just a beautiful place. I can't say enough about the people here, if a need arises, the people here are ready to help," said Wayne.
Wayne said his wife Teresa has a very giving heart. Everything you give always comes back to you and you get back way more than you give. Teresa is a blessing to the Nielson family and extended family.
Teresa said, "Wayne is a hard working, honest, decent and kind man. He would do anything for you. We attribute all our success to our Heavenly Father. It's been an incredible journey with a lot of experiences. We've worked with many wonderful people over the years."
"We love Huntington and we love the people here, we want to help Huntington be a better place," said Wayne.
The Nielsons are getting ready for the next stage in their lives. They want to serve a mission for their church.
Teresa said it doesn't matter where they go they would like a church history site, or maybe a foreign mission, but they will go anywhere the Lord wants them to go.
The Huntington Heritage Days committee is grateful and appreciative to Wayne and Teresa for their contribution to Huntington and to Emery County.
They have indeed helped make this a great place to live.