2021 Grand Marshal Paul Rasmussen
Paul Rasmussen was born in Princeton, Illinois along with his twin sister, Pauline. He was raised on a farm near Amboy and his family grew corn and soybeans. They also raised cattle, hogs and chickens. Paul has two older sisters, Janet and Gladys and a younger brother, Virgil.
Paul attended Walton grade school and Amboy High School, both in Illinois. He graduated in 1961. During high school Paul played football all four years and lettered during his Junior and Senior year. While in high school Paul was a FFA officer and attended the National Convention in Kansas City. He was also a 4-H member, showing cattle and swine at the fair. While in 4-H he participated in the tractor driving event and placed 11th at the Illinois State Fair. After high school he split his time between working road construction and helping on the farm.
In 1964 Paul took a one-way truck driving job from Chicago, Illinois to McFarland, California. He then moved to Bakersfield and attended Bakersfield Junior Collage for 2 years.
In April of 1966 Paul was drafted into the US Army and he is a Vietnam Era Veteran. Paul was sent to Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training then to Fort Ord, California for advanced infantry training. He then received orders for the Corps of Engineers Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Upon completion of OCS he was discharged as an E-5 and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.
In April 1967 Paul was sent to the 809th Engineer Battalion in Thailand. His company built 28 miles of all-weather road through rice paddies and mountains, in less than a year. This road connected the deep water port in the south to the air fields in the north, which aided the movement of supplies and military ordinance during the Viet Nam War. After returning to the United States Paul was assigned to the 609th Combat Engineer Battalion, 5th Infantry Division. His duties with the 609th were secure communications and nuclear demolition.
In January 1969 Paul separated from the Army as a 1st Lieutenant and he moved to Fresno, California. He attended Fresno State University where he met his future wife Judith Kelley. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. After graduation, Paul worked for a number construction companies in the area as a heavy equipment operator and he spent 4 years on the Helms Project. During his last 15 years he worked as an estimator for Dave Christian Construction Co., one of the best contractors in the state.
Paul married Judith on September 23, 1972 and they moved to Caruthers in April of 1973. He always liked last names, so his wife is better known as “Kelley”. In 1975 they became the proud parents of their son, Ryan. Ryan married a local girl, Jennifer Gallyer. They have two sons, 12 year old Wyatt and 10 year old Shane. Ryan lives in Caruthers and he is a member of the Caruthers Fair Board.
Paul was a member of the Caruthers Fair Board for 41 years and he ran the motorcycle and quad races for 35 years. He was also involved in numerous other projects for the fair.
Paul has been a member of the Caruthers Lions Club for 45 years. He was Western Region Chairman for 2 terms and Zone Chairman four terms. He was also the clubs president for two years. Paul was honored with the Lions Clubs highest recognition, the Melvin Jones Fellow Award, and he is a lifetime member of Lions.
He has been a pylon judge at the Reno Air Races for the past eight years and he has been going to the air races since 1972. Paul has also a proud member of the Caruthers Happy Hour Club and for the past two years. Paul has helped the club set up their trap shoots and raise thousands of dollars for local scholarships.
Paul’s greatest passion, however, has always been airplanes. Paul started taking flying lessons in 1969 and he got his pilot’s license in 1970. He did a lot of local flying and he eventually bought a Cessna 182 and started flying to Baja for vacations. Paul’s other hobbies include rock collecting, classical music, reading and trap shooting.
If you can’t find him, he’s either at an airport somewhere or at the gun range.