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Emery County: are you Ready for Pro Rodeo Action?

By WESTON BRINKERHOFF, student writer

Don and Laverna Petersen as a young married couple.

At the age of 17, Don Petersen was your average American boy. He had already enlisted in the Air Force to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot and helping the Allied war effort. Petersen did not go to basic training until he was 18. He trained in two places, Texas and Colorado.

While he was still fairly new in the Air Force he went into the regular army. While in the Army, he was almost deployed to Germany, but at that same time the Allies just won the war and forced Germany to surrender. "I felt pretty lucky that I didn't have to go to Germany. I was later sent to gunnery school which was closed and then to mechanic school which also closed.

Don and Laverna Petersen at their current home in Emery County.

"I also spent some time on an army base in Panama, it was next to the Costa Rican border. I love to fish, so while I was in Panama I did a lot of fishing. One day while fishing I was stung by a jelly fish and that really hurt.

"One time while on a troop ship in the Caribbean we were caught in a hurricane. I am always up to a little adventure so instead of going down below where I would be safe, I stayed out on the deck. The waves would crash up on the ship really hard and the wind was blowing and the ship was moving everywhere. I stayed up on deck for a while, but got sea sick pretty fast, and then I went back below the deck. I didn't recover from that ordeal until I saw the grass in New Orleans," said Petersen.

After the military Petersen wanted to come home and become a farmer. He later started working for the forest service and retired in 1989. These days Petersen loves to golf. He goes golfing every morning with his friends. The Petersen home is filled with golfing pictures and dolls.

Petersen said he has a beautiful wife named Laverna, they have been married for 58 years in July.

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