Jackie Heyneman turns 90 years old
Last updated 1/20/2021 at 10:55am
Jackie Heyneman, a longtime resident of Fallbrook, celebrated turning 90 years old, Dec. 26, 2020. Her dedication to the community inspired others to throw her a socially distanced birthday parade to celebrate with her and thank her for being so active in Fallbrook.
Heyneman has resided in Fallbrook since 1972 and she has been helping the community ever since. She was active in National Charity League, president of the PTA at Potter Jr. High, as well as a Girl Scout Troop leader while her daughters were growing up. However, she is well known in Fallbrook for her environmental activism.
In the early 70s, the county was threatening to cut down the oak trees at Live Oak Park, but Heyneman believed that cutting down the trees would diminish the character of the town. Heyneman and her friend Roger Boddaert banded together and began contacting lawyers, then she helped found the organization Save The Oaks, which would later be called Save Our Forest. Save Our Forest members are active in Fallbrook through their involvement in community service, pushing urban forestry, and planting trees around town. According to Heyneman, Save Our Forest has planted more than 2,750 trees.
Heyneman said she is extremely proud of her work in this organization, and she loved seeing the excitement the tree planting parties brought to the community.
"We would have big parties and we would all go out together and plant trees," Heyneman said. "People were so excited about planting trees in downtown Fallbrook, we used to have crowds of more than 250 people coming together over one common goal."
Heyneman has been active in Save Our Forest since its founding, and throughout the years she has not slowed down. She attends the two monthly workdays and helps plant trees throughout Fallbrook, most recently she was involved in the planting of the 100th tree in Live Oak Park.
On Dec. 13, 2020, 13 days before turning 90 years old, Heyneman was involved in a serious car accident. She fractured the 6th vertebrae in her neck, and she also suffered from severe whiplash from the impact. She is healing from her injuries, and said she feels very lucky to be feeling better.
"I'm a strong 90 year old," she said. "I'm already starting to walk on my own, get my own breakfast, normal daily activities. My daughters have both been helping me too."
One thing that has kept Heyneman positive throughout her life has been waking up every morning with a purpose.
"Everyday I wake up with something to do," she said. "It may sound crazy, but every morning I wake up with a purpose, whether it's pulling weeds or going to the Fallbrook Art Association, having these tasks has kept me healthy."
Her birthday parade took place on Dec. 26, and Heyneman was overwhelmed by the amount of love around her. The line of cars waiting to celebrate with her made Heyneman feel supported and loved by the community, "It was an emotional event for me," she said. "People really do care in Fallbrook."
Her love for this town is apparent in everything she does, and she continues to adapt to the times. She is very proud of her new community service opportunity for members of NCL; she has about 20 NCL Tick Tock members who want to attract attention to the environment and encourage young people to take care of their world.
However, one of her biggest accomplishments has been helping found "Scarecrow Days." She said she was proud to see the impact Scarecrow Days had on Fallbrook, and she loved seeing the merchants and community come together to positively stimulate Fallbrook's economy. Heyneman has a very long list of accomplishments, but being a part of "Scarecrow Days" and bringing Fallbrook together has had the biggest impact on her.
One piece of advice Heyneman has to offer the members of Fallbrook is to get involved in the community.
"Over the years, I've seen the people of Fallbrook grow more dependent on the government," she said. "But we're an unincorporated area. If we want something done, we need to do it ourselves. The county won't do it, we must. Together, we can all help make an impact on this community by getting involved. Wake up and take part."
After living here for almost 50 years, Heyneman considers Fallbrook her hometown and she continues to serve this town at 90 years old.
"I think I'm allowed to consider Fallbrook my hometown after almost 50 years," she said. "I love Fallbrook and living here brings me so much joy. That's why I do everything I do in the community, I love this town."