Former Burbank High swimmer, water polo player and coach David Nelson was honored during the Burroughs versus Burbank High swim meet Tuesday.
Nelson, a 2007 graduate, was killed last summer while serving in the line of duty as a Bakersfield Police Officer. He was 26.
A plaque was placed on the wall inside the pool area of the school to honor Nelson.
Principal Dr. Michael Bertram, former principal Bruce Osgood, former Burbank swim coach Adam Wright , Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williams and Nelson’s brother Erik were among those that came out to honor the officer who had spent two years working Bakersfield.
“He was offered a full-time job in Washington D.C., but he said ‘I don’t think I can sit behind a desk,’” recalled his father Larry Nelson of his son’s choosing to go into law enforcement. “He said ‘I feel it is my duty to serve and protect.’ It’s hard that he’s not here, but he said ‘That’s what I want to do the rest of my life.’”
David Nelson went on to play water polo and basketball at Occidental College in Eagle Rock. He returned to Burbank High to the coach the swim team in 2011.
He also worked in the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department, where he taught swimming among other things.
Larry Nelson said the Burbank Educational Foundation has set up a $1,000 scholarship in his son’s honor and said the scholarship will never go away because it will stay alive through interest accumulated.
A Burbank High student-athlete will be the recipient of the award every year.
A second scholarship has been set up in Bakersfield and there are plans for more events and fundraisers in David’s memory.