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Rebecca Ruiz: Make a change, get involved

Rebecca was born in Missouri, but, moved to Barstow when she was 10. She went to Pitcher Junior High and then graduated as a Riffian from Barstow High School in 1977.

Q: Describe a special memory you have in Barstow.
A:  There’s so many. Being in the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (MCJROTC) at Barstow High School and learning how to shoot, march and being in the Saber Drill Team.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A:   I read a lot.

Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A:  I like making or fixing things and working outside in the early morning.

Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A:  Go back to teaching respect for our country in the classroom.... saying the “Pledge of Allegiance” and singing the National Anthem every morning (including taking off hats and stop talking during the Anthem).

Q: If you could change one thing about Barstow, what would it be?
A:  Ask for more community input... and LISTEN to it! Let the community have more of a say of what they want to see done here. I know they need to stop fixing streets that don’t really need repair and fix some that do!... also, make it easier for businesses to get established here. One more thing — change Barstow Junior High School to Kennedy Junior High School — everyone knows it as “Kennedy” anyway!

Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A:  Abraham Lincoln. I admire his honesty and integrity and his respect for ALL people.

Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A:  My Gunnys in MCJROTC. Sgt. Broadhead, MSgt Shelton, Sgt. Barnes. They not only taught me military lessons but some life lessons.

Q: What talent do you most wish you had?
A:  Lol. I wish I could sing on key!

Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A:  “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A:  Learn as many hands-on talents as you can, such as medical, carpentry, mechanics, electrical, how to tell the difference between an edible or poisonous plant/animal/insect etc. We should all learn to be self-sufficient. I’m a “Doomsday Prepper” and I believe someday the world will go back to “pioneer” times — no stores, no fast-food, no Internet, etc.

Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.
A:  The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) — it’s the voice for the Army, support for the soldier.  When my son, Rafael Machuca, joined the Army I wanted to show my support. AUSA does so many things for our local soldiers and their families and our local vets.
Then, because of AUSA I took over the project of trying to get donations (or building materials) to remodel the Military Outreach Services Center at 512 Barstow Road. It’s an old building and it needs a lot of work. Especially since it’s now incorporated the Survivor Outreach Services to give financial counseling and emotional support to the families of our Fallen Heroes.
Also, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) — Through my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We’ve divided Barstow into regions and neighborhoods and are trying to establish captains that will check on their area after a major disaster and report in. CERT will send out teams to assist the fire and police departments since they’ll be swamped and undermanned!

Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A:  I’m proud of my children (Fidel, Rosa, Rafael and Luis) and my grandchildren (Fidel Jr. aka Jesse, Alena, Analyssa, Adesina, Kaylee and Gabriel).
I’m proud of all our soldiers and Marines. My son, Rafael Machuca, lost an eye during combat in Afghanistan in July 2010 but, he’s still on active duty here at Ft. Irwin.

Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A:  I like too many to pick a favorite.

Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in Barstow?
A:  The small-town atmosphere. I love the drive-in. The air is clean. Crime is low. Barstow’s within 3 hours of any big city I could want to go to — Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Big Bear.

Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A:  Well, I don’t get paid but, all my volunteer jobs give me the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing my part for my country, my soldiers and my community.  

Q: What book had a significant impact on you?
A:  The Book of Mormon. It’s gotten me back on the right path to my Heavenly Father.

Q: Of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and why?
A:  I’ve been to a lot of places but Barstow is still my favorite. It’s “home”.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A:  I’d love to go on a cruise down the coast of Mexico. I think it would be a great trip, although, I’d probably be thinking of how to survive if the ship started sinking!

Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A:  I’d like to see the Regional and Neighborhood Captains all set up so that Barstow can hold it’s own after a major disaster.   

Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in Barstow?
A:  Jack-in-the-Box on Main St. You can get anything on the menu anytime.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A:  Still in Barstow.

Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
A:  Who feels guilty!?

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A:  If you want to make a change, get involved. There’s a lot of good organizations that do a lot of good in Barstow. Join one or more!

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