Getting to know write-in coroner candidate Endres

By Kendra Hennis 
Name: Nellie Endres

Age: 54

Family: Husband: Kevin, Son: Brian, Daughter: Becca Dunn and five wonderful grandchildren. My husband is a captain for Tuscola Fire for 33 years and our son is a firefighter. Our daughter teaches Tinkergarten.

Area of representation: Douglas County write-in candidate Douglas County Coroner.

Educational/professional background:I have been a nurse and public servant for over 20 years. Born in Springfield moved to Tuscola where I have been here for over 53 years. Graduated from Tuscola High school in 1984. EMT education, Nursing school at Parkland College. Before becoming a nurse, I worked as EMT supervisor for ACE Ambulance Service. I was on Tuscola Fire for five years. I feel that my background as an EMT  and being on Tuscola Fire gave me valuable experiences in working with people who have been involved in traumatic situations as death scenes often are. Those experiences have  given me a valuable understanding of accidents and death investigations. I have experienced many aspects of nursing from being an Assistant Director of Nurses, worked in Hospital, Doctors’ offices, and Public Health.  

Currently working with the Champaign-Urbana Health department for five years.  

As many of you know, my older brother Joe, the coroner for 25 years and Chief Deputy Coroner for 14 years, unfortunately passed away earlier this year unexpectedly.  I am aware of the stress and strain of the job.  The sleepless nights that are involved with this position.  Joe made this position look effortless, but I know the toll it takes and am more than ever ready to take the job on myself.  This is why I know that I am the best candidate for this position. Unknowingly, he has been training me for this position, and I have learned about the expectations for this position. Joe has also taught me what things I need to add to be an extraordinary coroner, those things are not written down for others to read.  Those are the things people learn after being on the job for decades.  If voted into this position, I will not take the expectations of this position lightly, and would be honored to continue serving my community as a public servant in this new role.  

Civic involvement: Fire/EMS

What qualifications/attributes do you feel you bring to this role?

I’m a team player.  I understand the importance of a team.  As the coroner, I understand the expectations of me and know the importance of why those who lead, need to also listen to those they are serving, as well as the other positions associated with the coroner.  

I am ambitious and I’m ready to take on this position and serve those in our county.  

What do you feel are the greatest challenges the county is facing right now? Do you have any thoughts as to how they could be addressed? What do you see as the county’s greatest strengths?

Greatest challenge is the impact of COVID-19 on county and state budgets in the near future. Being resourceful is the greatest strength the county has.    

What factored into your decision to run for this office? Why do you feel you are the better choice?

This position became open due to the unfortunate loss of my brother.  Had my brother not passed away, I wouldn’t have run, as nobody could do this job better than Joe.  

I had an intense yearning to run for this position soon after his death, because I personally want a coroner with the experience and qualities that Joe possessed. Joe has unknowingly been priming me for decades to get ready for this position and I have been subconsciously learning from him.  

Our family has been involved with being public servants all our lives. We take pride in helping those in our community, when they are having possibly one of the worst days of their lives.  

Have you ever held public office before, and if so, what and for how long?

I have not held a position in public office before.  

What do you feel are the primary responsibilities for the office of coroner? What are your qualifications for this role?

To properly and accurately document the death of residents or visitors in  Douglas county. To notify and console the family of the deceased.I have been an RN for years as well as I worked as an EMT for 15 years and assisted with the traumatic incidents’ seen with MVA’s.  I have experience with this and know what is expected of me.  

What, if any, do you feel is the most pressing issue facing the office of the Douglas County Coroner? How do you plan to address that issue?

The Coroner needs to be available as much as possible to serve with compassion and to work with all agencies and funeral homes without bias.  I plan to be available as much as possible, if elected I will work all but one day a week for the coroner’s office. My plan is to work for my present job one day out of the week so I can keep up my nursing skills.

What changes, if any, would you make to the office?

I would ask the retired deputies to return, to continue the experience and professionalism that was in place before my brother’s passing.

Is there anything else you would like me to add?

There is a misconception that if a mistake is made on the ballot that the” ballot” is ruined. That is not the case, the race that has an error is not counted.

The ballot has a place to write in your choice even if you vote the electronic ballot.

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