Dr. Paul Nelsen sits at his desk in Ripon in early 1985, shortly after returning from his first mission trip to Haiti. Despite such trips, Nelsen made a career of helping Riponites.
Dr. Paul Nelsen sits at his desk in Ripon in early 1985, shortly after returning from his first mission trip to Haiti. Despite such trips, Nelsen made a career of helping Riponites.

   Dr. Paul Nelsen likes to joke that, if not for coming down with bronchitis on a fateful day in 1980, he never would have ended up in Ripon.

   “I tell people that Ripon was the last place I looked because I got sick here and I couldn’t go any further,” he said, laughing.

   That’s really how it happened?

   “Well, not [really]. But I did get sick while I was here and could not follow through on an appointment I had in Fond du Lac,” Nelsen said. “... Really [I chose] Ripon because of people I had met.”

   Yes, Nelsen got sick in Ripon.

   But he’s never gotten sick of Ripon.

   And, after 37 years working to care for those around Ripon who have become ill, he’s ready to retire from seeing patients on a daily basis.

   Following a career that’s seen him work for multiple health-care organizations, see patients in several communities and witness countless innovations, Nelsen believes it’s time to step back from being a family doctor.

Read the full story in the Jan. 4, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.