By SCOTT PESZNECKER
John and Helen Yost, instrumental in developing Feeney Park in Murphys, have been named grand marshals of the Murphys Irish Days Parade.
"It was a big surprise and we're honored," Helen Yost said.
Parade co-leaders Bob and JoAnna Reagan chose the Yosts to be grand marshals, because of the Yosts' dedication to the park project.
"They have just been so involved in this community and have donated their time and effort, especially with Feeney Park," Bob Reagan said. "It's such a wonderful place. We felt it was appropriate for them to be honored."
The Murphys Irish Days Parade will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, as part of the Murphys Irish Days celebration. The parade will move through the historic downtown area.
Presenting the celebration is the Murphys Business Association.
John Yost, 50, co-founder and president of an international whitewater and adventure travel company, serves as president of the Feeney Park Association.
He has been the Feeney Park field coordinator since 1997 and has overseen the construction of the snack shop and other buildings on the 17-acre property. He also had a hand in bringing baseball and softball diamonds and soccer fields to Feeney.
Helen Yost, 53, is the business association's treasurer and has been the park's landscape coordinator since 1999. She is a physician by trade. Employed by a Maryland-based company called Westat, she works with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. She used to work for the Yosemite National Park Medical Clinic.
The Angels Camp couple is now working to bring a skateboard park to Feeney Park which is near the intersection of Highway 4 and Pennsylvania Gulch Road.
Their community improvement efforts have inspired others to follow suit.
"We've been contributors to Feeney Park mainly because we felt that John was able to take the money contributed and turn it into much more by using volunteers and his connections," Bob Reagan said. "He's been very effective in getting the park to this stage."