To know Gridley's Heather Payne is to know that this woman can accomplish several things at once.  She can be gone for a week to pick up her son Benson  in St. Louis after a two year mission and  return to fix lunch the next day for 15 Rotarians at their monthly board meeting, and  head back to work. Husband Ben is the president of the Gridley Rotary Club and for the past three months of his year-long committment that started in July, Heather has spoiled the board members with a wonderful lunch at their monthly meeting.

To know Gridley's Heather Payne is to know that this woman can accomplish several things at once.  She can be gone for a week to pick up her son Benson  in St. Louis after a two year mission and  return to fix lunch the next day for 15 Rotarians at their monthly board meeting, and  head back to work. Husband Ben is the president of the Gridley Rotary Club and for the past three months of his year-long committment that started in July, Heather has spoiled the board members with a wonderful lunch at their monthly meeting.

Born and raised in Gridley, Heather attended all local schools, graduated in 1978, and left the next day for Ricks College School of Nursing, following in her mother Mary Andreason's footsteps who became an RN in San Francisco. Her father is Richard Tippets.

Graduating from Rick's College at the age of 19, her first job was at Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital, where she was born.

"I remember how wonderful the staff was to take the new graduate under their wing. Dr. Nielsen was happy to have me in the ER and I was mentored by Donna Oskin, Francis, Ruth Martin and many others," Heather stated.

She went on to work as an RN in Missouri and Hawaii. She left Hawaii in 1981 to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Puerto Rico for 18 months. She learned to speak Spanish which has especially benefitted her in her nursing career.

She has a brother Kevin, who is three years younger and everyone thinks they look like twins. She comes from a Japanese/Hawaiian, and Irish/Scottish background and says she doesn't look like her parents.

She feels her education she received in Gridley was just right for her. She enjoyed her time in band, cheerleading, snow skiing, CSF and on the tennis and basketball team. She was a princess for GIBT tournament, was student body vice president and was in the senior play all in one year.

She then moved to Utah where she met her husband Ben and they were married in 1984. The couple had two daughters, Mariah, (now 24), and McKendra, (now 23), in Utah before returning to California.

Heather worked the next 15 years at Fremont Rideout in many departments.  She worked five years as a Med-Surg Unit Supervisor and the last five years as a nursing supervisor.  She had three more children, Benson (21), Spencer (16) and Brennah (11), and had quite a balancing act with 12 hour shifts but she and Ben took a leap of faith and combined his skills in  social services and Marriage, Child, Counseling and her love of children and nursing, to help shape Children's Hope Foster Family Agency in 2000.

She is the nurse at the agency and helps with placement and assessment of the new children to meet their physical and medical needs under the guidances of foster care services. She helps with public relations, explaining what the agency does and why, while encouraging others to help when the can, by becoming foster parents.

"I have met some very incredible people under the age of 18, who are full of hope and talent. What a privilege it is to meet them," she stated.

In 2005, McKendra and Brennah were in a serious automobile accident and Brennah was a direct benefactor of the emergency services in Gridley and  at Enloe Medical Center, where she received blood to keep her alive. She spent time at Stanford at the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital and again received blood. Since that experience, McKendra, Brennah and Heather like to encourage supporting blood and marrow donation to help save lives. They work with Blood Source and the LDS Church who sponsors blood drives along with Children's Hope several times a year.

Brennah and Heather received the 2009 Red Cross Community Volunteer award for Butte and Glenn Communities.

April of next year will mark 30 years of nursing for Heather and she notices many changes in the industry. In Missouri, the nurses stood out in the dead of winter, 10 degrees outside waiting for the bus to take them to work at the hospital at 4:30 a.m. holding tons of books and the white cap blowing off their heads.

“There are millions of new pills in single does packaging now, and acronyms for diseases that don't exist,” she stated.

She enjoys her work with Music Matters and the Gridley High School band and choir. She has been instrumental with the Renaissance Dinner and working with the musical productions to help with props and even some directing for the Cinderella play.

She has worked with the Parents Club the past seven years,  serving as President the past two years, but she says that has been with Past President Laura Rudd holding her up.

She is a member of the GHS Site Council,  Quota Club of Gridley, FOCUS and helped the Kaleidoscope board.

"Our community is full of tremendously talented and dedicated women who I watch and learn from continually," she stated.

She say's she is not a business woman and we had to twist her arm to get her to agree to this interview, but again, if you know Heather, you know she is more than a business woman.