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Shared community service gets couple named Fiesta Days grand marshals

fiesta_grand_marhsalls_1_8_12

Wendy Wasserman, right, and Jim Kellogg, left, were recently named this years' Fiesta Days Grand Marshals. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | January 09, 2013 |

VACAVILLE — Serving the community, according to Jim Kellogg and Wendy Wasserman, is simply part of who they are.

It is also inevitably a team effort, the husband-and-wife team joke, since whenever one of them gets involved with a project – whether it’s the Onion Festival, Wreaths Across America, Fiesta Days pageants or United Way telethons – the other is quickly drawn in.

“It’s a team,” said Wasserman.

“A left- and a right-hand thing and we have such a good time together,” Kellogg quickly added.

It’s that quality of pitching in wherever they can be of help for the past 30 years that got them named grand marshals for the 2013 Fiesta Days.

Wasserman described her reaction as “stunned” while Kellogg said he was “blown away” by the news.

“It is humbling that we are being so honored,” Kellogg said, while Wasserman added “we don’t think what we are doing is so special.”

Both Kellogg, 59, and Wasserman, 58, were born in Germany. They grew up in military families, with Jim with the Army and Wendy with the Air Force.

Wasserman moved with her family to Vacaville in 1957, graduated from Vacaville High School in 1972 and got a business degree from California State University, Sacramento before joining the family travel business. Jim arrived in the community in 1976 when he became a sales manager for Motorola after graduating from California State  University, Chico.

Wasserman’s community service goes back to 1970, when she volunteered as a teen to work at David Grant Medical Center during the final years of the Vietnam War. Jim’s community service helped him become an Eagle Scout in 1971 in Marin County.

Wasserman Travel was formed in 1978 and the two met in May of that year at the travel agency. Wasserman was working when Kellogg walked in to buy a plane ticket. Two years later, they got married. Two years after that, Jim left Motorola and went to work with Wasserman Travel.

Wasserman has been extensively involved with Soroptimists while Kellogg has been similarly involved with the Rotary Club.

One of the latest projects that Wasserman got involved with is the Soroptimists’ plans to take the young women at the school district’s continuation high school under their wings with classes and workshops to teach them subjects, such as handling finances and parenting.

“It’s to bring them hope,” Wasserman said.

The couple worked on local United Way telethons until they were discontinued. They were also on the Onion Festival planning committee, as well as on The Children’s Network of Solano County yearly Onion Dance fundraiser committee.

They organized the annual Mervyn’s Child Spree as a joint effort, with Jim organizing it for Rotary Club and Wendy organizing it for the Soroptimist Club until Mervyn’s went out of business.

They are also involved with Wreaths Across America and donate home storage space to Christmas Wish so the organization doesn’t have to pay for a storage locker.

Neither of them look at this volunteering as a burden, with Kellogg describing what they do as “a lot of fun.”

The duo have no plans for taking it easy with their business or their community anytime soon, since Wasserman said “we love what we do here.”

As for the community recognition, “we just want the community to know how honored we are,” Wasserman said.

This year’s Fiesta Days will be held during the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend in and around Andrews Park. The Fiesta Days parade will be May 25.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
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