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After growing up in a small high-desert town, Denise Walden Cooper moved to Santa Barbara in 1985 to attend college. She immediately fell in love with the region’s natural beauty and coastal lifestyle and has made it her home ever since. She lives with her husband, has two grown children, and is a small business owner.

With her natural inclination to help, volunteering has been a constant in her life, beginning with her involvement in her children’s classrooms and PTAs, and later volunteering for various local electoral campaigns and nonprofit organizations.

When the January 9, 2018, debris flow occurred, she quickly joined the Bucket Brigade in its efforts to dig out Montecito. As months passed, and with countless hours spent digging out homes, trees, and open spaces, she realized the importance of not only a sustained recovery plan but also community preparedness for future disasters. As one of Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade’s core group women volunteers — aptly known as the Mud Sisters — Denise brings a “boots on the ground” perspective to the board.

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