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By Pat Doody
Welcome Hostess 

Meet Your New Neighbors

Hilltop Welcoming Service


May 14, 2022

Debra Sanderson had lived in Pine Mountain Club for 20 years when she made the decision to move to Tehachapi, joining a friend who had encouraged her to come here. Her landlord in Pine Mountain Club had sold the house she was renting there in March so she didn’t have the time she would have liked to find a place in Tehachapi. Fortunately, she was able to find a place that will do for a while. Plus, she’s closer to the services she would continue to need following an automobile accident she had been involved in a year ago on Interstate 5. Debra is delighted to be in Tehachapi.

Along with her sister and two brothers, Debra was born in Burbank and raised in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley. She attended Van Nuys High and then El Camino High in Woodland Hills. She said she loved to play softball and league bowling through high school and college. She attended Pierce College in Woodland Hills and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Northridge. She has spent the last 20 years as a medical billing specialist and has also worked at UCLA Medical Center and Humana, among other facilities as a substance abuse counselor and a case management consultant. Much of her time in Tehachapi will now be involving physical therapy and getting her strength back.

Following her accident, an acquaintance introduced her to Abby, a German shepherd pup now about 10 months old who has become her “emotional support” animal. Although not trained as such, Abby has become that for Debra, even though she can be a bit hard to handle at times as are most pups.

Welcome to Tehachapi Debra. We know you will enjoy your new home.

Trina and Spencer Jernigan arrived in Tehachapi in April from Mission Viejo in Orange County when Spencer was hired as a quality control specialist at Edwards Air Force Base. Trina said his job at the base is now product based instead of food based as it had been in Orange County. Tehachapi was the perfect choice of a place to live since Spencer has family members who already live here. Trina said they are very excited about moving into their first house. For the last six years they had been living in a one bedroom apartment in Aliso Viejo that cost as much as their house payment.

Trina was born in Palm Springs, California and was raised with a brother who is now living in Orange County. Spencer was born in New Mexico and also has a brother. Spencer’s family lived in Arizona for a time before moving to California. Trina said her father-in-law at one time worked for Rio Tinto in Boron but is now employed in Tehachapi. Trina and Spencer met at Cal State Fullerton where they were both business majors. They now have a very active 5-year-old son named Theo who will be starting school in the fall.

While at home with Theo during COVID-19, Trina discovered baking. She loved it, and while she does not eat flour based treats, she learned to make delicious cookies, pies and cupcakes and is now considering turning her hobby into a business. Spencer is a musician, although, according to Trina, he is perfectly happy confining his music to entertaining his family just for fun. He is proficient on guitar, keyboard, piano and drums.

The family has a black cat named Bagels and a Russian Tortoise named Pericles. Trina told me that Pericles is only about 7 years old but a Russian Tortoise can live to be 50 or 60 years and will be “about the size of a dinner plate” when full grown.

Welcome to Tehachapi Trina, Spencer, Theo, Bagels and Pericles. May your new home provide you with years of joy.


If you have moved to Tehachapi within the last six months, Hilltop Welcoming Service has a bag of information about the Greater Tehachapi area, including local activities, events, government and facilities. There are always a few coupons and gifts, as well. It is a great way to learn about your new community. Being part of this column is strictly optional. If you would like a visit from the Welcome Hostess, contact our office at (661) 822-8188.


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