John and Ellen Peterson were recently named grand marshals for Mountain Heritage Days, the annual fundraiser for Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park.
“They do so much for the community, for the kids,” event coordinator Gwen Dunn said. “I know the kind of people they are. They’re wonderful, they’re loved, and everyone just adores them.”
Ellen,65, recently retired after 40 years at YHS, where she taught current American affairs, government, U.S. law and justice, world history, and U.S. history. She also coached girls basketball, advised the pep squad, House of Representatives, “S” Club, Explorers Post and coached the track team. She was the Cadet Corps adviser for five years, coached girl’s basketball for 10 years, softball for seven years, track off and on for 25 years, and cross country for 30 years. In recent years, John assisted her with cross country.
John, 67, relocated to the Mountain Area with his three children 32 years ago. He slowly worked his way out of being a full-time optometrist into a volunteer firefighter.
The couple are passionate in their desire to serve. While John is off battling blazes, Ellen will continue as a Cadet Corps volunteer, marching with the group at the Veteran’s Day Parade in Fresno.
They hope to become more involved with Fresno Flats once their grand marshal duties have been fulfilled. Future visitors just might spot John, who is good with gardening, helping with the grounds - or Ellen, given her love of history, dressed in period garb as a docent giving a guided tour.
“Whatever Fresno Flats needs, whatever YHS needs, whatever the community needs, we will volunteer in any capacity to help,” Ellen said.