EECU Creates Buzz with Gunsmoke Deputy
CLOVIS, Calif. - There's a new 900-pound "guard" at Educational Employees Credit Union and he's creating quite a buzz. Positioned at the front entrance of the $869 million credit union is none other than legendary "Gunsmoke" Deputy Marshal Festus Haggen-well actually his statue. "It's amazing how much interest it's sparked from people using the ATM. People have noticed him," said EECU Clovis Branch Manager Willy Barnes. The television character was created by former Fresno County resident/actor Ken Curtis and was previously behind the Clovis Big Dry Creek Museum. The statue was donated to the city by local sculptor Samantha Cowen in 1991 and unveiled in February 1992. Curtis died in 1991 at age 74 at his home south of Clovis. Festus' move will help make room for much needed downtown restrooms. EECU paid approximately $2,000 to move the statue. "Ken `Festus' Curtis embodies all the wonderful attributes held by our Clovis citizens and even more," said Clovis historian Ron Sundquist. "He is the symbol of a great hero so needed by everyone young and old."