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A long time member of the Auglaize County Health Board has resigned after more than 20 years of service.
Dr. David Nielsen, who has served on the board since 1991, decided that at 91-years-old, it was time for him to leave the board, over which he has served as president for 20 years.
“Looking at my 91 years, I felt as if it was wise to retire now and have someone younger take my place,” Nielsen told the Wapakoneta Daily News on Friday.
He said by law they had to have a physician to hold a meeting and he didn’t want to leave them in a bind should something happen to him.
“I hated it,” Nielsen said of having to make the decision.
“I really enjoyed it — the people I worked with, the work we did, I think it’s very beneficial to the community,” he said.
Of course Nielsen won’t just miss serving on the Health Board. After retiring from his family practice in Waynesfield after 50 years in 1995, he said he still misses that.
“I really miss medicine and miss practicing,” said Nielsen, a Lorain native, who spent two years practicing medicine in the Army and another couple years as a physician in southern Ohio before moving to Waynesfield.
Despite no longer actively practicing medicine, Nielsen said he still attends medical meetings because he enjoys learning.
With his extra time, he plans to work out in his woods, read, and continue daily half-mile walks with his Jack Russell Terrier, Patch, who often frequented Health Board meetings with him.
“He’s been such a good board member,” Auglaize County Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons said of Nielsen on Friday after his resignation was accepted during a regular meeting of the Health Board.
She said Nielsen had so much wisdom to share.
“He was so understanding and down to earth,” Parsons said. “We relied heavily on his guidance and help through situations.”
She said he faithfully attended meetings.
“He was always here,” Parsons said. “He was an important part of our board.”
Dr. Thomas Freytag is expected to finish Nielsen’s unexpired five-year term on the board, which expires in 2015.
Nielsen said Freytag being selected as his replacement made him feel better about his decision.
Parsons said she recommended Freytag for the position because he met the requirement to have a physician serving on the board, which none of the other four board members did. Freytag also would be the only board member from Wapakoneta, a representation that Parsons thought was important on the county board.
Freytag is to serve in an interim position on the board as he was appointed Friday but then is expected to be confirmed in the role by the Auglaize County Health District’s Advisory Committee during an annual meeting in March.
“It will be interesting getting his perspective,” Parsons said.
“He was in private practice for many years and is now doing occupational health so he has a broad perspective of health issues and knows the county very well,” she said. “He brings another dimension to the board and we look forward to working with him.”