Cal Fire has promoted a well-known Ben Lomond resident and Cal Fire veteran Rob Sherman to operate the activities of Ben Lomond Conservation Camp.
Cal Fire conducted a badge-pinning ceremony Monday, Jan. 14, at its Felton headquarters, led by acting Unit Chief Scott Jalbert.
“We’re all excited to have Rob as part of our management team and the Ben Lomond Camp,” Jalbert said during the ceremony.
The camp is a post that includes a unit fleet of about 50 vehicles, including fire engines and bulldozers.
As division chief, Sherman is charged with supervising 10 fire captains and their staff who take custody of about 90 California Department of Corrections inmates from the Ben Lomond Conservation Camp facility each day and put them to work.
When there is a wildfire, the inmates help battle the blaze — when there is no fire, they complete work projects that include cleaning trails and reducing burnable fuel throughout the area.
Sherman’s daughter Abby pinned her father’s badge on his uniform during the ceremony that was attended by a host of valley fire chiefs.
Sherman, a Santa Cruz native, graduated from now-defunct Morello Preparatory High School and became a seasonal firefighter for the California Division of Forestry in 1978.
His father and grandfather started what is now Zoccoli’s Deli in Santa Cruz and wanted Sherman to go into the business with his cousin. Instead, Sherman chose firefighting.
He worked for six years as a seasonal firefighter, three in the Santa Cruz-San Mateo area and three in Santa Clara, including on a helicopter crew on Pacheco Pass.
For the next 13 years, he worked at Moffett Field in Mountain View as a firefighter, and then worked at the Fort Ord and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey before the base closure forced him from the post.
Sherman was hired as a Santa Cruz County fire marshal in 2000. He became an engineer, then a fire captain, a deputy fire marshal and then battalion chief.
“I love working for the department,” Sherman said.
Sherman is also active in the community. He’s in his fourth year as president of the San Lorenzo Valley High School Booster Club, on which he’s served for eight years. He’s also coached Little League, Pop Warner football and was in charge of the Sunday School program at San Agustin Church in Scotts Valley for 13 years.
He lives with his wife, Joan, in Ben Lomond. They have two children — son Kyle Sherman who lives in Montana, and daughter Abby, who attends San Lorenzo Valley High.
Sherman’s father, Lloyd, 95, lives in Santa Cruz.