Giving Forward to the Community
Ric and Alan Nickelsen share an exceptional life heritage as seventh generation Pensacola natives: They are brothers, both are bankers, and each is an ardent supporter of Sacred Heart Health System.
They attended Birmingham Southern College in Alabama and then went into the field of banking upon graduation. Currently, Ric is Vice President Commercial Lender with Smart Bank, and Alan is Executive Vice President Commercial Banking Manager with Synovus Bank.
Their personal ties to Sacred Heart go way back. Their father Eric served as the first lay chair for Sacred Heart Hospital Board; their mother spent much time under treatment for cancer at the hospital; and Alan’s two sons were born at Sacred Heart.
But it was Ric’s experiences that were particularly significant for him: His sons, who were born prematurely 18 and 15 years ago respectively, spent many days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Children’s Hospital. At that time, all bassinets were side by side in a room that was a totally sterile and isolated environment. Sometimes Ric was able to hold his newborn, but mostly could only stare through the window into the bassinet.
He says the family environment in the new Children’s Hospital NICU will be “highly Ideal”, with each premature infant cared for in a private room available to the family. He serves on the Sacred Heart Foundation Board and has been committed to helping raise funds for that new hospital. “The amount of volunteer time and hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes to make this Children’s Hospital happen is amazing.”
As bankers, both Ric and Alan see its economic benefits. Ric says, “It will be a magnet for patients from surrounding areas, and from that perspective will be an economic boon for this area – new jobs, new kids in the school system, new docs recruited.”
Alan, who serves on the Sacred Heart Hospital board, adds, “There will a trickle-down economic impact. When people want to move, the first thing they look for is healthcare. They want to know that their kids will be taken care of. Having the top Children’s Hospital in the region will attract them.
“When people ask me what I am involved in, I am proud to say, ‘Sacred Heart’. It is more than a hospital – it is an extended family.”
Their own parents always stressed the need to continue “giving forward” to the community, advice Ric and Alan have taken to heart as they create their own faith-based legacy of contributing to the future of Sacred Heart.