Fair announces Old Timer of the Year, Grand Marshal

Old Timer of the Year
The Old Timer of the Year award is judged on kindness and service to our community. The nominee has to be at least 60 years old and lived in Lassen County for at least 10 years. This year the 2024 award goes to Laurel Marsters and Raelene Waltman.

Laurel Marsters was born in 1940 and graduated from Lassen High School in 1958. She was a school bus driver for Lassen County where she has resided for more than 50 years. She has been active in the 4-H program for many years and was a first time 4-H leader at 19 years old. She has coordinated operation Christmas Child at her church for many years. Everyone that knows Laurel loves her and her positive outlook on life she has been involved with the community from a young age and continues to support the community today including participating as an active member on the Junior Livestock Auction Committee.

Raelene Waltman is a fourth generation Lassen County resident and a retired teacher’s aide from the Lassen County School District. She has been a member with the Sagebrush Cow Horse Association, Honey Lake Valley Riders, Native Daughter of the Golden West and a member of the Standish Bible Church for more than 80 years. Growing up she participated in 4H and FFA and showed at the Lassen County Fair from a young age. She supports the Lassen County Historical Museum and the Lassen High School Alumni Association. Waltman is proud to be from Lassen County and loves to call this place home.

Grand Marshal
The Grand Marshal award is a century old tradition based on accomplishments and contributions to the community. This year the 2024 award goes to Gino Surian and Retired Brigadier General Richard C Bendix.

Gino Surian was born in Susanville to Alvise and Carmela Surian who were immigrants from Italy. When Surian was 11 years old, his father passed away and his mom did not speak English, so Surian had to step in and help with his father’s business with his brothers which began his long career with the T&A Cocktail Lounge. He retired this year after helping to run the longest owned and operated family business in Lassen County. He gave 65 years to the family business.

Surian graduated from Lassen High School in 1966 where his team for the 880 relay still holds the record. He is a 10+ year pancreatic cancer survivor and a member of the Susanville Assembly of God Church. Surian is very active in the community where he has played, coached and sponsored more than 1,000 local teams including wrestling, soccer, basketball, baseball and football. He ran the St. Jude’s Bike-A-Thon for multiple years and coached for crazy bowl which benefited the Lassen High School Football Program. He has hosted many charity events at his business and has been a huge sponsor for many different organizations including: Northern California Cancer Advocates, Rocky Mountain Elk’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, ECV, Poker Runs, Lassen County Fair, Lassen Family Services and various programs and teams at Lassen High School and Lassen Community College.

Retired brigadier general Richard C Bendix is a 96-year-old retired Army veteran. He has resided in Susanville for the past 26 years and frequented the Lassen County and Eagle Lake area for 25 years prior to him calling this place home. Bendix, lovingly referred to as Dick, served in the U.S. Army for 37 years and achieved the rank of brigadier general. His assignments included Korea, Germany and the Pentagon for six years. While at the Pentagon he was working for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Bendix is believed to be the oldest playing tympany player in the world. He also enjoys playing the drums and he has been playing with the Susanville Symphony since its inception which is almost 21 years. Bendix recently finished a turkey hunt with his son, Brett and is an avid fisherman, gardener, hiker, hunter and world traveler. He attributes his secret to his amazing life to staying busy.

According to the statement from the Fair, “Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations for Grand Marshal and Old Timer of the Year. Be sure to check them out in the parade on Saturday, July 20th at 10 a.m. on Main Street and get your tickets to the fair which are available at lassencountyfair.org.”