Aurora Public School Board member Eric Nelson accused of falsifying military honors

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 20:30:01-04

Nothing upsets our brave veterans more than an imposter and someone who’s pretending to be someone they’re not.

One Aurora School Board member is now being accused of that.

The Aurora School Board is digging into the resume of Eric Nelson after Denver7 uncovered that Nelson may have made up portions of his resume, including some of his higher education.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Denver7 finds mistakes on diploma Eric Nelson claims is from Northwest Nazarene University

Now, Denver7 has found that Nelson may have made up his Air Force honors, too.

In a report by the Colorado Statesman, a photograph of Nelson in a decorated Air Force uniform was reportedly posted on Nelson’s Facebook page. That photograph has reportedly since been taken down. 

Denver7 showed the photograph to the Air Force, which tells us the photograph shows Nelson wearing 10 ribbons on his uniform.

According to an Air Force spokesperson, the ribbons and medals include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Air Force Recognition Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon - Short Tour, USAF Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the Air Force Training Ribbon.

The Department of Defense confirmed for Denver7 that Nelson was an active duty Air Force member from April 16, 1998 to June 18, 1998. 

The Department of Defense also confirms for Denver7 that Nelson ended with a rank of E-2 Airman and his last duty title was Basic Airman Trainee.

The Department of Defense told Denver7 they have no awards or decorations on file for Nelson.

In a phone call with Eric Nelson, Nelson told Denver7 Reporter Mark Boyle that he would not provide a copy of his DD214, which is the military discharge papers and also include any awards earned.

Nelson told Denver7 he stands by the statement that he provided on his State Representative District 42 campaign website.

“The photograph of me in uniform is from my past. My service record speaks for itself. At no time have I posed in uniform inappropriately during my campaign for the school board nor for house district 42,” said Nelson.

Nelson is running for the seat that is being vacated by Rep. Rhonda Fields.

In light of the allegations, Nelson is also being asked by APS Board President Amber Drevon to provide proof of all of the items listed on his resume and biography that is listed on the Aurora Public Schools website.

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“As the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education president, I recognize that we have a responsibility to be honest and transparent with our community.  I want to reassure our community that the board takes the allegations against Eric Nelson very seriously and is actively looking into this matter,” said Drevon in the statement. “I have asked Nelson to provide me with verification of the information he has included in his biography, which is posted on the APS website.  The board will review this information when it becomes available.  While the allegations about Nelson’s past are concerning, there is nothing in these allegations that would legally disqualify him from serving as an elected board member.  As such, the board does not have the authority to overturn the decision of our voters who elected Nelson to the school board.”