Q & A with Kathie Martin: The voice of the town

Kathie Martin has served as the marketing and public affairs officer for the Town of Apple Valley since January 2001. Prior to working for the town, Martin was the event coordinator for the recreation district in Apple Valley for three years. She also spent nine years as the activity director at the Jess Ranch retirement community, where she did everything from driving a bus to calling bingo.

Martin has a degree in recreation administration from Cal Poly Pomona.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have followed a challenging and rewarding career path from college until today, without having to leave Apple Valley,” she said.

Martin was the fourth generation of her family born in East Liverpool, Ohio, but moved to California as a young child when her dad found work at Kaiser Steel.

She grew up in Fontana and Rialto, and has lived in Apple Valley since 1990. She is married to Mike Martin, an Apple Valley resident since 1970.

She has two children, Jill Baxter, a college student and Disneyland employee living in Fullerton, and Nick Baxter, a high school junior and assistant drum major at the Academy for Academic Excellence.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: As my kids have gotten older and more self-sufficient it has been great to rediscover this “free time” I kept hearing about! My husband and I are avid movie-goers and cultural arts enthusiasts, attending plays, concerts and art festivals on a regular basis. I enjoy community service through the Rotary Club of Apple Valley, and improving my communication skills through Toastmasters. I’ve been the chair person of the annual Happy Trails Chili Cook-Off for eight years. I’m also a scrap-booker, reader, and spend way too much time on social media.

Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My mom and dad are amazing people. At 18 they had a toddler and one high school diploma between them, moved 2,200 miles away from their family and made their way in the world. They’ll celebrate 48 years of marriage this summer. Their compassion, resiliency and sense of humor and fun have defined my life.

I lost my younger sister to leukemia at age 29, and my mom has successfully battled breast cancer. Instead of losing heart, they got involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and have raised more than $110,000. They are now happily retired in Arkansas. I owe my calm demeanor to my dad and my positive outlook to my mom. Now if I was just better at remembering to send birthday cards like they do.

Q: Where do you find deep satisfaction?
A: As I get older, I’m finding that satisfaction doesn’t come as much from an accomplishment as it does from the journey. I find it satisfying to just learn new things, whether it’s about a subject matter, my husband, my faith or myself.

Q: If you could change one thing about Apple Valley today, what would it be?
A: As the spokesperson for the town, I can’t pass up this opportunity to say we have “A Better Way of Life” in Apple Valley! But I don’t just say it, I believe it. This is a great community, with passionate citizens and committed staff and elected officials. If it were as easy as snapping my fingers, the one thing I would change is to bring more jobs to town. The ripple effect of getting people back to work would positively impact everything from our economy to the spirit of our citizens.

Q: Tell us about a happy memory in your first car.
A: My first car is a happy memory! It was a 1977 AMC Spirit, white with baby blue plush interior and black plastic louvers on the hatch, as was all the rage when I got it in 1982. I was starting school at UC Riverside, and my mom was in the passenger seat as we drove for a campus visit. As we chatted I didn’t notice the school zone we had entered, and was pulled over for my first speeding ticket with my mom sitting right beside me.

Q: Who was your hero as a kid? Do you have a hero today (or someone you especially admire)?
A: I’ve never really had a hero, but I admire certain kinds of people. In my position at the town, I serve as keeper of the historical archives. Learning more about the original settlers of our area as well as our modern-day founders has given me an appreciation for pioneers in all forms. People with a vision, whether for an area, a program, or a need in the community.

Someone who sees a need and jumps in to fill it, because it’s the right thing to do; they are my heroes.

Q: What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
A: No one would ever mistake me for adventurous. I did not join my mom when she jumped out of a plane on her 60th birthday! I suppose the most adventurous step in my life was choosing recreation and then public relations as a career. I was always extremely shy as a child. The day of an oral report at school would often find me in the nurse’s office feeling “sick.” I’m still an introvert and uncomfortable in most social settings. Yet I chose a career that made me lead people in activities, and regularly speak in front of crowds. It has proven to be very challenging and rewarding.

Q: What are five things you can’t live without?
A: My children — the most amazing, scary, rewarding experience of my life. My husband — truly one of a kind. My smart phone — I dislike talking on the phone and I’m terrible at sending cards. If I couldn’t text or post on Facebook, I’d never keep in touch with anyone. Starbucks’ Chai Tea Latte — extra, extra, extra hot. And lastly, speaking of a hot latte, I couldn’t live without heat — my seat warmer, electric blanket, space heater. Just keep me warm and I’m a happy camper! Actually, I hate camping. It’s usually cold.

Q: What makes you tick?
A: I have a ridiculous need to be in control. Let me organize it. Let me finish it. This annoys me, and I’m sure it annoys those around me. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve noticed that my control-freak tendencies are shifting from something that makes me tick, to something that just makes me twitch. I’m learning to let go. I realize I have to trust those around me for their sake as well as mine.

Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: As I mentioned, my satisfaction lies more in the journey and not the destination. I don’t have a goal such as reading the complete works of Shakespeare or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. What I hope to accomplish is to reflect continuous and positive growth. Everything in your life and your soul needs to be nurtured daily. I think the worst possible condition, whether in my relationships, my faith, or my career, would be stagnation. Wait. Actually, there is one thing I’d like to accomplish: I want to finish the scrapbook I’m making for my daughter’s high school graduation, which was in 2011.

Q: What are five things you are grateful for?
A: My husband’s love. My children’s success. My mom’s strength. My dad’s integrity. My God’s grace.

Q: Tell us about your faith.
A: I’m a Christ-follower, saved by His grace alone.

Q: What are your three favorite places to eat in the High Desert?
A: A taste of Italy from Mama Carpino’s, a journey to Mexico at Chevo’s, and a delicious home cooked breakfast at Mollie’s. And Steer & Stein. Sorry, that’s four, but I just can’t cut one out.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say, anything you’d like to get off your chest?
A: At heart, I am really just a happy, corny optimist. One of my favorite quotes is “Hakuna Matata.” (It means no worries, for the rest of your daaaays!) I drive some people close to me crazy with my insistence on always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Bad drivers, grumpy cashiers, inattentive waiters — whom are we to judge? We don’t know what they are going through. Maybe their dog just died.

Q: How can readers get a hold of you?
A: I can be reached at Town Hall at kmartin@applevalley.org, or (760) 240-7000, ext. 7070.

Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at News@AppleValley-Review.com.

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