A SusanvilleStuff Feature
by Melissa Blosser, Assistant Editor
Ralph Sanders is certainly worthy of the title Grand Marshal serving as an active and committed citizen to the Lassen County community in several capacities.
“I just think we should all try to help others to make the entire community better for everyone,” said Sanders.
Born in a log cabin in Arkansas, following the tradition of at least five generations before him who were timber workers in Virginia, Illinois and Arkansas.
Ralph’s first job was as a log peeler. He moved to California in 1961 at age 19, and worked in Plumas County for M&G Trucking.
For the next twenty-five years, in over a dozen states, Ralph worked for the industrial construction industry.
In 1987 Ralph moved to Lassen County to manage the construction of the Honey Lake Power Plant in Wendel. He managed the plant’s operations from the time they produced their first watt of electricity until his retirement in 2011.
Ralph worked tirelessly, with 24/7 availability, on numerous occasions under difficult circumstances, including supplying the City of Susanville and surrounding customers of LMUD with electricity when PG&E connections were disrupted; providing warmth and comfort to residents and saving business customers countless dollars.
Under Ralph’s leadership, the Honey Lake Biomass Power Plant became Lassen County’s largest industrial employer and one of the County’s largest property taxpayers. Ralph was sought out as the leading authority on renewable energy, providing expert guidance informing public policy and defining the debate for the betterment of the public good.
Under Ralph’s leadership at the plant:
For over 20 years, Ralph has been an active Rotarian and is the recipient of multiple Paul Harris awards. Ralph was President of the Susanville Noon Club and was the Charter President of the Sunrise Rotary Club in 2002.
As a Rotarian, Ralph was or is involved in the following:
“For all of his accomplishments, Ralph remains a genuine nice guy without pretention. His ever present smile and positive attitude is a tonic for anyone who has the pleasure of his company. Ralph treats everyone with respect. He volunteers countless hours and money to better his community . . . he does this without expectation of acknowledgement and in fact, he prefers to remain in the background and let others take the credit,” said Rhetta Vander Ploeg, who nominated Sanders.
Ralph and his lovely wife June raised 4 delightful children and recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.
When Sanders was asked why he performed so many good deeds, he said “It’s just part of what I thought my responsibilities as a citizen were. Someday I might not be able to do those things anymore and someone just might help me.”