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Nielsen, a health-care official, is `zealot' on parks and recreation.

When Doug Nielsen comes home from the stressful world of health-care administration, he looks for the simple pleasures: his family, some fly fishing, some woodworking and some local politics.

Nielsen, 43, is running for mayor of Centerville after two terms on the City Council, one in the late 1980s and the one he's just coming off now.Nielsen, an assistant administrator for community affairs at Primary Children's Medical Center, grew up in Bountiful but has lived in Centerville, his wife's hometown, since 1979.

"We only live a couple of blocks from where she grew up," Nielsen said. "You can throw a rock from where we live now and hit her old house. There's been a lot of changes in the town over those years. The street wasn't even paved when her parents built their house there."

Nielsen met his wife, Carolyn, at a dance. They were paired because they were the only two who were attending the University of Utah.

"The rest were BYU material," he recalls. "But, it took." They were married during their last quarter of college.

They moved to Washington, D.C., where his wife worked in the office of the Speaker of the House and Doug Nielsen, with his U. degree ("Yeah, I bleed red") in mass communications did an internship in the office of former Utah congressman Dan Marriott.

"It was an interesting time; we met a lot of interesting people," Nielsen said of their work. But they returned to Utah in 1978 and moved to Centerville a year later to raise their family of three children.

Nielsen has worked at the hospital for seven years and prior to that did a five-year stint working for the Children's Miracle Network, which sponsors an annual telethon fund raiser for children's medical expenses.

"That was lots of travel. It was fun for about the first year, but I was on a plane just about every week," Nielsen said. "The last few years the travel got to me.

"But I was able to serve on the city's board of adjustment," he added. "That was a good anchor, a good local connection."

He also, when his kids were younger, was involved in coaching sports.

"We did it all, soccer, T-ball, Junior Jazz. It's the greatest thing for kids that a city can do, to support those types of recreation programs. It gives kids positive - well, mostly positive - adult role models.

"Some people paint me as being a zealot on parks and recreation programs. Well, so be it," Nielsen said.

The kids are older now. His oldest daughter will graduate this June from Viewmont High School, the school Nielsen attended. Another is also in high school and the youngest is in junior high.

Nielsen likes to fly fish, arranging a week each summer to work the streams around Jackson Hole. Growth along the Wasatch Front, he said, is making it tough to find good fishing much closer to home.

And there's his woodworking. He builds furniture, especially casual, leisurely front porch swings and Adirondak-style lawn chairs.

"I love those chairs. They're so comfortable," Nielsen said of the half-dozen he has in his yard. "I've built probably 30 sets, mostly for family and friends. I like working with wood."

Another love is community service, which has led him to two terms on Centerville's City Council, a stint on the planning commission and board of adjustments, as well as a long list of other community and service organization jobs.

"I'm deeply committed to community service and being involved in the community. I think it's one of the most important things a person can do.

"It's embarrassing to campaign, sometimes. I mean, I find it embarrassing to call someone up and ask if I can put a sign in their yard. And it's embarrassing to put your name on a 4-foot sign on a street corner. But I do it because I love to be involved in the community," said Nielsen.