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Folsom's Ernie Sheldon Has Devoted Much of His Life to Service

Jun 01, 2015 12:37PM ● By Amber Foster

Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

When Ernie Sheldon was just 17 years old, he asked his mother for permission to enlist in the military. 

This was in 1952, during the peak of the Korean War, and the decision proved life-changing. While he never saw combat firsthand, Sheldon ended up spending over three decades in the United States Air Force. He traveled all around the world, and lived through some of the most tumultuous periods in U.S. history.

After retiring from the military and moving to Folsom in 1985 with his wife and daughter, Sheldon found that he missed the community spirit he’d experienced during his years of service. He started attending city council meetings, and soon became increasingly involved in community groups, particularly the Folsom Parks and Recreation Commission.

Over his tenure with the commission, he helped build over 45 parks in the area, including one that still carries his name (the Ernie Sheldon Youth Sports Park on Natoma Station Drive). In 1992, Sheldon lost his wife to cancer, but found solace in his community activities. 

Since 2008, he’s served on the Folsom City Council and is especially passionate about supporting area veterans through activities such as the Wayne Spence Veterans Day Parade. Although he’s now 80 years young, Sheldon has no plans to slow down. “I’m healthy. I’m in good shape,” Sheldon shares. “As long as I can keep working and giving back, I’m going to do it.” •

 — Amber Foster 

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self? 

A: Your word is your honor.

Q: What comes to you naturally? 

A: Working as a team player.

Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve? 

A: Those that have all the ideas and will do none of the work.

Q: Biggest life inspirations? 

A: Be happy, productive and respected.

Q: What are you most proud of? 

A: My role as a husband, father, friend and citizen.  

Q: Favorite humanitarian cause? 

A: To better the lives of children everywhere.

Q: Best words of wisdom you’ve received?

A: Be a good winner and a humble loser.