Petra Rueda is a member of the Wasco community who is committed to the values of service. Her journey into activism was deeply influenced by her late husband, Danny, who is also a respected Wasconian leader.
Petra was born in Wasco when there was a hospital and attended all local schools. She comes from a family of eight and was raised in the Catholic Church, having been baptized and completed all her sacraments.
After graduating from Wasco High School, she went to Job Corps in San Bernardino County for two years and received her certification in clerical and accounting. She then came back and worked in management for the department store Kmart. After that, for 18 1/2 years, she served with the Department of Human Services for Kern County.
Petra married Danny Rueda in 1995. They went on to have a daughter, Victoria,
"My late husband and I raised our daughter to be a loving and caring young lady. She is a Wasco elementary teacher's aide at Teresa Burke Elementary School and is earning her master's degree as a speech pathologist. I'm very proud of her."
Early in their marriage, Danny began a lifetime of working for the betterment of Wasco. He joined the Knights of Columbus, was on the Wasco Union Elementary School District board and served as VFW commander. He passed away in 2021.
"My husband was always very big about community involvement and giving back. So, I had to fill his shoes when we lost him. Those were big shoes to fill."
"And the one that always encouraged me was our now Mayor, Alex Garcia. He was my husband's cousin. He said you have to step up. You can do it, cousin. You have to get out of your comfort zone. Former WUESD Superintendent Kelly Richers, too. He was one of my husband's best friends."
She said she loves being retired now. "I love being involved in my community. Today, we are doing posadas at my church, and I will help with the set up."
Petra started her involvement in the community with her husband. "I always helped him with his events, like the car show for the VFW and their annual pancake breakfast. I always assisted him. I didn't need to be in the spotlight, but I liked joining him. We were always together. Wherever he went, I went."
The clubs and organizations she is involved in now include the St. John's Women's Society and the Wasco Woman's Club, and she is the current president of the Wasco Union Elementary School District.
In 2019, she and Danny were honored to be named Grand Marshals for the Wasco Rose Parade. "That was special for both of us because we represented the town of Wasco and made us feel proud. We were very excited and joyful."
"Personally, that was one thing my husband wanted to do before he passed away. It was something he always wanted."
To encourage others who might be interested in community leadership, she offers the following advice, "Get involved. It's the best feeling, and it's very rewarding. The first step is reaching out to any local organization."
Regarding her vision for the future of this community, "I just want to help build a bigger and better Wasco."