Originally from Buffalo, NY, Denise made her first trip to the desert in 1979, driving her Chevy Nova from Camp Lejune, in North Carolina, where her husband had previously been stationed. Denise arrived to 29Palms in the middle of the night and was pretty surprised by what she saw the next morning.
Denise describes these as the days when the military would say, "If we wanted you to have a wife, we would have issued you one." These days, the military is much more aware of the important role spouses and families play in the lives of our service men and have a number of programs, like the one Denise worked in called FRO - Family Residence Officer, serving as a liaison between families and their enlisted family members during active duty.
Being the spouse of a serviceman requires travel to many places and Denise cultivated an attitude of optimism and openness about those changes, never expecting or anticipating what a place might be like, but just accepting it for what is was and embracing it. This is her third time in 29Palms.
Denise is also a business owner, running B29, formerly known as Bistro 29 - she and her husband became full owners of the restaurant in January 2018 and have made some changes to the branding and the menu, continuing to offer reasonably priced fare in a lovely atmosphere with some southern flair. They're now offering ribs, which have been a big hit, as well as po' boys, soup/salad/sandwich combos for lunch and an all-you-can-eat salad bar for dinner. And, as Denise says, no southern breakfast is complete without grits, which they serve with breakfast on Saturday during the 29 Palms Farmer's market.
Denise is involved in her community, serving on the Chamber of Commerce as Secretary and now Vice President and is currently a candidate for 29 Palms City Council. Becoming a candidate was not without it's 'hitches and glitches' as Denise describes in this episode. She hopes to address some issues around the city's infrastructure as well as simplifying the process for new business owners to get up and running to fill the empty storefronts.
About the desert, Denise says, "It's a place of peace and tranquility - it helps you get in touch with who you are."
If you'd like to learn more about Denise, learn about her platform or donate to her campaign click here: