Rancho Cordova's largest annual celebration is the Fourth of July when volunteers absolutely transform Hagan Park into our own patriotic wonderland. Those WHO actually work on this project don't think of it as a party as much as a major miracle.
Think about it. One day you are meandering through Hagan Park alone with your dog and a couple of days later you are there with thousands of people enjoying carnival rides, fireworks, great food and more. A couple days later it disappears just as fast. How do they do it?
They do it with a lot of imagination and hard workers like Lloyd Lagerstom, that's how.
The thing is, a lot of you don't know Lloyd Lagerstom. That's because he is a true stealth volunteer. He flies in low and quietly, delivers his payload, and disappears almost as quickly. You would not have even known he was there except that somebody must have done all that work.
Lloyd Lagerstrom: stealth bomber. There is truth to it and if you are from Rancho Cordova, you will recognize some of the story line.
Lloyd's story begins back in Wisconsin. He grew up in Brookfield, right outside of Milwaukee and attended St. Norbert College. The Air Force called to him and for the next 20 years he served our country as a B-52 navigator, eventually retiring from Mather as a Major in 1984.
Along the way he had his own Air Force 15 minutes of fame. Lloyd volunteered and served on the first air launch of the Harpoon Missile in 1983, shortly before he retired.
During his time in the Air Force, Lloyd also served as a squadron commander, an exec officer and even led recon missions. This ability to fly under the radar served him well until tonight, when a big fuss gets made about him -- whether he likes it or not.
After the Air Force, Lloyd worked as a loan officer and later as a tax auditor for the State of California. He served in the customer service wing of the tax world until retiring just two years ago.
Lloyd started going to the Rancho Cordova Fourth of July years ago, when the fireworks were still fired off from Mills Middle School. He helped his wife Connie's hair salon to so many parade entry victories they got tired of competing.
A few years ago he quietly began to show up and help run the set up and tear down of the immense under-taking that is the Fourth of July, running crews, taking on the toughest jobs and knocking down back-breaking tasks with the precision of an Air Force bombing run.
Logistics Manager Lee Frechette put it this way: "Lloyd comes in, seeks out the difficult jobs and quietly gets them done. He does everything to a high standard and never shirks a tough job. He goes out of his way to not draw attention to himself, and just gets it done."
By the way, Lloyd's birthday happens to fall on July 3. He told us that when he was born his Dad was so happy he told everybody to take the next day off. They threw a parade and did. And now you know the rest of the story.
Lloyd, it's guys like you who make Rancho Cordova a great hometown. The Air Force brought you here, and for whatever reason, you chose to stay. It's a story we hear over and over, and the city is richer for it.
Your nomination was submitted by those who work shoulder to shoulder with you producing Rancho Cordova's greatest annual event. They respect you, marvel at your work ethic and are proud to call you a friend.
We have no idea where you find the energy to do these things, but we suspect it is part deep love of country matched up with deep love of Rancho Cordova.
Whatever it is, Rancho Cordova is lucky to have you. Nobody is more deserving than you to bear the title: All American Fourth of July Volunteer.