Terrence “Terry” Sanders is a 23-year firefighting veteran, EMT/Paramedic, fire survivor, small business owner, husband, father, musician, and longtime resident of Santa Rosa’s 4th District.
A native of San Francisco, Terry met his wife, Debra, (J.D./Ph.D.), amongst friends while trading stories about world travel. Debra has spent her entire career in education, serving as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal before joining her current employer—the Sonoma County Office of Education—where she’s served as their Foster and Homeless Youth Education Services Coordinator for the past decade.
In 2006, wanting to leave the Bay Area’s urban core for a quieter place to start a family, Terry and Debra drove to Santa Rosa for the first time and immediately fell in love with the city’s character, sense of community and incredible natural beauty in and around the city. They knew this was the place where they wanted to plant roots and raise their family—and have called Santa Rosa’s 4th District ‘home’ ever since.
Terry and Debra began raising their young family upon moving to Santa Rosa. Their oldest son, Isaac, was born in 2006 and is entering his junior year of high school. Their younger son, Paxton, succumbed to illness in 2010 as a young boy, which was a difficult yet profound experience for Terry and his wife. Despite dealing with the most difficult experience of their lives, Terry and Debra felt blessed by the outpouring of support for their family from friends and strangers alike—showing Terry how profound the power of community is here in Santa Rosa. In a 2017 San Francisco Chronicle article, Terry noted “the community is tight. It’s really tight…I came from San Francisco, and didn’t know my neighbors in the city. Here, you know your neighbors, and you know they’ve got your back.”
In 2017, Terry’s home and entire neighborhood was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire. Despite losing family photographs, a collection of guitars and other irreplaceable, sentimental items, Terry visited Fountaingrove’s Fire Station 5 that night to engage with firefighters before the fire station burned down. He was a regular visitor at the local Command Center, using his background in firefighting and paramedic work to provide updates to his fellow residents despite being an evacuee and fire survivor himself, giving him an introduction to the importance of community engagement—some fire survivors even called Terry a “hero” based on his regular and frequent updates in the days following October 8-9, 2017.
Though Terry and his wife chose not to rebuild their former home, they continue to reside in Santa Rosa’s 4th City Council District, moving into the home of the late Helen Rudee, Sonoma County’s first female Supervisor. When he’s not working as an Oakland firefighter and spending time with family, he devotes himself to another lifelong passion: music. As the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the blues band The Dylan Black Project (named the Top Blues Band by the North Bay Bohemian in 2017 and 2018), Terry performs at public events and venues throughout Sonoma County.
Terry is also deeply involved in Santa Rosa’s Wednesday Night Market. He owned a children’s entertainment company for nearly 10 years, frequenting the Wednesday Night Market, where he was referred to as the “Bungie Man” before joining the Market’s Board of Directors. He currently serves on Santa Rosa’s Wednesday Night Market Executive Board — using his position to bring residents and local businesses together. He hopes to bring our entire community together to address our most pressing issues as a member of the Santa Rosa City Council.