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Vandenberg Director of EO remembered for her kindness

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Some say kindness is the most admirable human quality. Others cast their votes for generosity. Congeniality, sincerity and compassion all rank among the traits people hope others attribute to them. Ask the friends of Alinda Nelson and they won't hesitate to say she had them all.

Ms. Nelson, Vandenberg's director of Equal Opportunity/Alternate Dispute Resolution Office, who passed away suddenly April 11, left a legacy of goodwill for the many she impacted during her life.

As a black teenager growing up during the Civil Rights movement, Ms. Nelson gained an immersive education early in the hands-on study of human rights. She also had a keen heart for military service, being born into an Army family and marrying into the Air Force. She moved to California with her then-husband after a tour in Germany and became a part of the Vandenberg community May 2, 1993, as a secretary for the 391st Technical Training Group. It wasn't long before her kindhearted nature began impacting those around her.

"Alinda was such a positive influence on the lives of so many people, both on the base and within the local community," said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander. "She was always kind and considerate."

In autumn of 1998, Ms. Nelson took her talents to the 14th Air Force here as the secretary of the chief of logistics before finally landing in the equal opportunity office. Being such a strong advocate for human rights, the position of director of EO proved to be a perfect fit for her. Long-time friend Vicci Jefferson described Ms. Nelson as having been a "passionate person for everyone," an indispensable quality for a spokesperson of equal opportunity.

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing vice commander, said "her ever-present pleasant demeanor was a welcome sight, which is especially remarkable since her responsibilities in the equal opportunity office often involved negative aspects of human nature."

Above all else, Ms. Nelson was simply a good friend. Sylvia Jones, one of Ms. Nelson's many close friends, said, "It's very rare that you can single out one person who's just there for you for the good times and the bad occasions." There are countless stories of Ms. Nelson giving her time, her attention and her efforts. As Ms. Jones put it, "She was always giving a gift."

Every remembered story of her life is accompanied with a smile and centers around her love for others. She lived a life of example, portraying the world she hoped for with her actions. The lesson we can learn from her life was written best by Ms. Nelson herself last year:

"Life is precious and no matter what may be occurring in our lives, we as Wingmen must be diligent to ensure we look after and care for our fellow man."