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Tony Marquez: A heart for serving
Tony Marquez was born in Needles in 1943. His dad worked for Santa Fe so the family moved to Barstow when Tony was four. He went to first through third grade in the ‘Bungalows’ at the end of Third Street and Hutchinson — they haven’t been there for many years now.
He attended Waterman, now called Central High, for fourth through sixth grade. This is where he started playing in the band. Junior High was in the 60 and 70 rows at Barstow High School.
“There have been lots of changes over the years,” he said “I was fairly active in high school; participating in the Riffian marching band playing most brass instruments, was a running back in football, tried basketball, and participated in a number of field and track events, even sang in the choir.”
After graduating high school he immediately joined the Marine Corps. He served 21 years in the Corps before retiring and bringing his family home to Barstow. He has three sons he’s proud of.
Marquez has participated in many community projects.
“I was involved in youth programs, not as a coach per se, but as an organizer. I was vice-president of youth football for several years. As Sports Commissioner I helped design a ‘Code of Ethics’ to guide coaches, parents, fans, and kids. It is important to build sound character, good citizenship, good sportsmanship, and teach basic rules of sports to the youth. These basics will carry them through out their life.”
Marquez said he was privileged to be on the committee for the first ‘Relay for Life’ held in Barstow. He was also an early member of the Patriot Forum, a committee to establish the ‘Boxes for Troops’. Since then he has been immersed in championing the program.
“It is important to let our troops know we care,” he said.
Q: Describe a special memory you have in the High Desert.
A: It was exciting, elementary school through high school, marching down Main Street for the many parades Barstow used to sponsor: Christmas, rodeos, and Halloween, now called the Mardi Gras Parade.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I like to watch old westerns on TV and DVDs.
Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A: That is an important question. I cannot change much by myself, but people can change the world. Each of us must reach out to aid our fellow man. Many may be misdirected. I try to lead or show them a better way. It is also important to empower people to grow on their own.
Q: If you could change one thing about the High Desert, what would it be?
A: Reduce government and special interest groups from taking, and controlling the use of our desert lands. There are too many restrictions.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A: Benjamin Franklin. He was one of our Founding Fathers, our “First Citizen Extraordinaire.” He was an inventor, writer, engineer, politician. He believed in free enterprise and capitalism, ideals that stand today.
Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My Father and Mother raised seven children instilling honest values to guide all of us. Dr. Kenneth Mack, Barstow Band teacher, was more than a band teacher. He taught us that music was math. He was a mentor and a friend to many of us. He not only took the time and interest while in school, but followed our careers.
Q: What talent do you most wish you had?
A: I wish I could sing better. To be able to do justice to a traditional hymn, or a rousing patriotic ballad would be satisfying.
Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A: My Father told me just before I left home for the Marine Corps, “Whatever you do in life be the best you can be”.
Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A: Go to school. Stay in school. Get a good education. Also, they need to know the factual history of our country. We are a Republic form of government. The young people need to know that to preserve our way of life.
Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.
A: All worthy charities are important. I support ‘Relay for Life’ to aid cancer research. Alzheimer’s is a terrible illness for the person and the family to endure. ‘Wounded Warriors’ is needed for our maimed soldiers and their families. And, ‘Boxes for Troops’ keeps me occupied in collecting “stuff from home” to send to our soldiers placed in harm’s way to let them know we care. A special day each year is for me to attend Dr. Kenneth Mack's Annual Memorial Scholarship Concert. A special tribute for me to support.
Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: I was born in Needles, raised in Barstow, and grew up in the Marine Corps!. I’m able to go anywhere and converse, reach out to anyone. My experiences in the Marine Corps taught me to lead.
Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A: ‘High Noon’ is a good movie with a combination of lawlessness and love, and the music is great!
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in the High Desert?
A: The weather, except the dusty, gusty wind!
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: I am retired!
Q: Of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and why?
A: The Marine Corps took me over half way around the world, home is always best.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: Australia. In 1981, I traveled to Australia with the Marine Corps Commandant’s Own Drum and Bugle Corp. We played 'The Melbourne Military Tatoo' musical program with various Australian bands. The people were friendly, supportive and appreciative of the American troops. To return for a visit would be nice.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: Accomplishments can be measured in many ways. At this time of my life each day is a new day to reach out and help others, young and old, and those in need..
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?
A: The Canton and Jenny’s Grill are my favorite places to eat.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: God willing, I’ll be doing exactly what I’m doing now. Hopefully, still capable of being actively involved in the community, participating in a positive way.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A: I’ve said a lot already! This has been an enjoyable experience; lots of reminiscing. Thanks for the opportunity to share a few of my memories, achievements, and thoughts with Barstow.