Sandy Smith | Ep 159


Sandy Smith of West Allis, Wisconsin arrived to 29 Palms as a young Marine wife and mother in December 1987. Knowing they had orders to Camp Pendleton soon, Sandy didn’t concern herself with setting up household here in the desert. – she didn’t think she’d be staying that long.


Sandy found herself back in 29 Palms in June 1994 for about nine months. On Valentines Day 1995, Sandy received a call that her Marine husband would be shipping out to Okinawa, but the family wouldn’t be joining him- for a year. Sandy was pretty devastated. She hadn’t yet made peace with the desert and would now be here for a year, alone, raising two young children.


Rather than sit home, complain and feel sorry for herself, Sandy got out and started volunteering again for Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. Her daughter was also now of school age and Sandy got involved in all the ‘parent’ things. As Sandy got out in the community, her attitude began to change. Shortly after that, her husband called to say his orders had been amended to include Sandy and the kids. Sandy wasn’t ready to leave, but, packed her bags and the kids and off to Okinawa they went - for six years.


As the Okinawa tour wound down, the family realized they would only be in one more duty station – they chose to return to 29 Palms in 2001 – and it’s been home ever since.


Sandy enjoys her community involvement – first with Reach Out Morongo where she started as a part time Executive Director and grew the organization in the ten years she was with them.


Now, as the Executive Director of Copper Mountain College Foundation since 2011 – Sandy's main focus is fundraising to support the scholarships and other programming the Foundation provides for the students.


In this episode, Sandy shares the history behind Copper Mountain College and how it became an accredited, stand-alone college.


Sandy is also a proud Rotarian, a member of 29 Palm Rotary and she serves on the Board of the Basin Wide Foundation

In her spare time, Sandy enjoys bingo, bowling and spending time with her grandchildren.