HIZ Project
Jan 12, 2023 7:00 PM
Sherry Heaney
HIZ Project
Sherry grew up in Campbell but spent her teenage summers in San Lorenzo Valley after her family bought the Town and Country Lodge in Ben Lomond. She moved to Santa Cuz after high school and graduated from the Cabrillo College Dental Hygiene Program in 1981. She was employed in dental practices in Boulder Creek, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, and Sunnyvale. In 1997, she returned to Cabrillo as a clinical instructor. Sherry also returned to academia, graduating with her Bachelors in Health Science, followed by a Masters in Education. In 2006, she was recruited to develop a private, dental hygiene program in San Jose. Sherry served as Dental Hygiene Program Director for Carrington College, until her retirement in 2018.
Sherry became interested in home hardening and wildfire mitigation strategies in 2021, after Andrew Clark, a Cal Fire representative, visited her property and shared recommendations to reduce her risks in the event of a wildfire. Cal Fire returned the following year and suggested she develop a community plan for her neighbors. After the CZU complex hit the Santa Cruz Mountains, Sherry started working with neighbors to gather and chip downed debris through the bi annual, free chipping program through Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District. In June of this year, she became the FireWise leader for her community on Quail Ridge Road in Scotts Valley.
Sherry learned of the Home Ignition Zone training program through the FireSafe Council of Santa Cruz County. She completed her training on September 25, 2022. At her first HIZ assessment, she visited the home of a senior resident who had limited mobility. She had concerns for her safety due to extensive, deferred property maintenance. Sherry asked about her ability to hire someone to rake and clear debris and she shared that she did not have the financial resources.
Sherry raised four grandsons who actively participated in community service. Her inspiration for a community partnership with SLV students and seniors in need, arose after her very first HIZ assessment.