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Why We Love This Place Wednesday: The Wanner Brothers


By Terra Avilla

Last weekend, Frankie was out of town. It was the annual Jr. Fishing Derby, and I had two very excited, but difficult-to-manage little girls to take. I called their “brother” and asked him if he wouldn’t mind waking up at 5:30a.m. on his Saturday to help take his sisters fishing.

Without hesitating he immediately said yes and said he would bring some of his fishing gear.

When I tell you that Pearl was more excited to see and fish with Joaquin than she was with me, that is no lie. That is how much she loves him. And this week, I want you all to understand why.

But you see, it’s not just him that you all get to love this week, the story actually starts with his older brother Donald.

The eldest of the two, Donald “Dillon” Wanner, came to Susanville first, for baseball, back in 2013.

After leaving to go to his four-year school, Donald came back, and has gone right back to helping our community. Donald helps the college baseball team as well as lends his expertise to Lively Performance, where he educates athletes of all ages.

He has endeared himself to many athletes by cultivating their gifts. His impact is not just on the kids who would like to someday play sports professionally, but rather on every child and adult fortunate enough to know him.

From conversations at the dinner table to advice between games, Donald has been a staple in the Avilla household. He was the very first of the first players to become family to us. So, when he told Frankie, he had a younger brother in Lovelock, Nevada who wanted to play for Lassen, it was a no brainer. We just had no idea how much we were going to love Joaquin.

His younger brother Joaquin Wanner moved here to play, however, because of Covid, we were lucky enough to squeak an extra year out of his eligibility for our club and for our family. He has literally known Mavery and Pearl for all their lives and has been Peach’s big brother for as long as she can remember.

After graduating from our program, he began his first job as a first responder, working as a BLM firefighter. He chose a tough job that asks strength, steadfastness and selflessness of its employees, but he is built of the right stuff for such a job. Joaquin may be one of the toughest human beings I have ever met.

To my family, they are our sons. They have spent countless hours improving our community in a variety of ways, and hundreds of hours helping and supporting my family in a way Frankie, and I can never repay them. And they are the world’s best big brothers to our girls, but they have also become a very important part of our little town.

Our community is a stronger, fuller place because the Wanner brothers have made it their own. They are two of the reasons I love where we live.

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