Shawn Sepulveda might type up an entry to a “Most Unusual Summer Vacation” contest but just now his hands and arms hurt too much.
The Santa Rosa native is back home after six days of buffing the exteriors of historic airplanes, one of them the first jet-powered aircraft to serve as a president’s flying Oval Office.
“Going up and putting my hand on Air Force One the first time,” he said, “I got a little choked up.”
Shawn is 34, an alumnus of Maria Carrillo High School and the owner-operator of Santa Rosa’s A Perfect Experience auto detailing shop. Earlier this year he applied to and was accepted onto a team of professional detailers on a mission.
Every year, detailers selected for the team travel to Seattle and the Museum of Flight. There, they clean and polish some extraordinary aircraft that otherwise would get to looking pretty shabby.
Shawn showered TLC on the first Air Force One with jet engines, the modified Boeing 707 that began ferrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959. It flew also Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
Shawn worked his magic also on the exteriors of the first 747 Jumbo Jet built by Boeing, in 1969, on a B-52 Stratofortress bomber and on one of the world’s fastest jetliners, a retired 1976 British Airlines supersonic Concorde, and 12 other museum-quality aircraft.
“There’s so much history behind these planes,” said Shawn, who regards his role in keeping them clean and shining “one of the best times of my life.”
Any day now, the hands and arms that polished acres of classic aviation skin will stop aching.
HISTORIC, TOO, was the wedding 12 days ago in Sonoma of Brittainy Welt and Sean Haraszthy.
Both chin-deep in Sonoma Valley’s wine industry, Brittainy and Sean met in 2012 as employees of Arrowood Winery, and today he’s the cellarmaster at Kenwood Vineyards and she’s is a business development exec with Pangloss Cellars and Repris Wines.
Remarkably, both are from families in California for 11 generations, back before statehood.
Among Brittainy’s ancestors are Carrillos and de la Guerras, one the Spanish-born José de la Guerra y Noriega, who commanded the presidio at Santa Barbara in the early 1840s.
And Sean hails not only from California wine pioneer “Count” Agostin Haraszthy but from the Carrillos and Vallejos.
The newlyweds start off with high hopes and deep roots.
IT WAS 1974, also long ago, when Penngrove-reared Fred Chapman, then 20, hired on with the city of Petaluma as a parks worker.
Fred had become Egg Town’s longest serving municipal employee when he retired the other day as an electrician long essential to the Water Department and the automated flood warning system.
After 43 years of faithfully keeping crucial city electrical systems functioning, Fred will now power down and enjoy doing a lot of nothing.
No way, you say? You must know Fred.
Truth is, he’s preparing to drive hard across the desert between Vegas to Reno later this month on the pit crew of Petaluman Don German’s family racing team.
Beyond that, the retired electrician is charged up to help his wife, Jean, with the daycare of their five live-wire grandkids.