This Memorial Day, Valleyfair is making it our mission to honor those who have served our country. Many of our associates have spent years of their lives devoting themselves to not only our country but also our park. One of these employees is our safety and security manager, Shannon Zellmann.
Shannon began her lifelong mission of keeping others safe before she was even a legal adult. She enlisted in the Air Force straight out of high school and celebrated her 18th birthday during basic training in Texas at Lackland Air Force Base. Shannon was inspired to join the service by her father who was an Air Force veteran and huge role model in her life.
During her five years in the Air Force, one of Shannon’s favorite stories to tell is when she was assigned to guard the Queen of England. She was stationed at a base with General Schwarzkopf and was assigned the daily duty of guarding his wife and daughters. When the queen came to the base to knight General Schwarzkopf, Shannon was on the security detail for the queen’s plane.
After her time in the Air Force, Shannon transitioned to the private sector of security in the Twin Cities for the next 13 years of her life. Her most recent job was the head of security at Planned Parenthood. She said that although she has had a few different jobs over the years, she will always find her passion for security while keeping people safe.
“Valleyfair is a place everyone wants to be,” Shannon said when explaining what influenced her decision to pursue a career here. Her main responsibilities as manager of safety and security include hiring and training the security team, securing the entire property, making sure all the guests and associates are safe and ensuring the park is up to code.
Shannon pointed out that she applies a lot of the knowledge she learned in the Air Force at Valleyfair and in her everyday life. “I learned a lot about comradery and how important that is when you’re working with a team of people,” Shannon said, “It [the Air Force] also teaches you maturity, responsibility, and accountability along with amazing leadership training and opportunities for growth.”
Memorial Day is extremely important to Shannon and she is excited to be celebrating it at Valleyfair. “As a veteran, I know the sacrifice of everyone who came before me,” she said, “The military is kind of a thankless job, it’s so important that they get recognized. Not only the people who are currently serving but also those who have served our country in the past. Remembering that their service was not in vain.”
As a personal “Thank You” to our heroes – Valleyfair is honoring all Military personnel and their families May 25 – 28. Active or veteran members of the armed services receive free admission with a military ID. Family members will also be able to purchase up to 6 tickets for $35 each. Please visit the admissions building at Valleyfair for more information. Whether you choose to celebrate at Valleyfair during Military Days or elsewhere, make sure to remember what the day is all about; our heroes.