WILLIE HAILEY SR.: SERVE GOD FIRST
City Councilmember Willie Hailey Sr., was born and raised in Barstow, the sixth child born to Robert and Mary Hailey.
He graduated from Barstow High School in 1975 and from California State University, Sacramento in 1980. After 27 years wit the California Highway Patrol, Haley retired in 2007. He has five adult children— three daughters and two sons — and 12 grandchildren.
“My entire family is very important to me — and I mean my entire family,” Hailey said. “Family takes care of family is something we were taught, and that can mean... making a pot of soup to driving someone to New York.”
Q: Describe a special memory you have in the High Desert.
A: Being elected the first Black-American to the City Council in Barstow which I am grateful for; being elected by this community truly humbles me.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I have coached football at Barstow High School for years and enjoy doing that working with student-athletes, hopefully changing them and making them better young men. Currently I am in my first term as a Council Member and that has been a challenge.
Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A: I enjoy cowboy movies, and Jimmy Stewart is my favorite cowboy.
Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A: Stop world hunger and peace for the entire world.
Q: If you could change one thing about the High Desert, what would it be?
A: Well, I love Barstow but the water problem needs to be solved here and that means the price for water that this community pays, which is shameful, and the water problem in Hinkley and Barstow.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Harry Truman — both remarkable men in my eyes.
Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: Mr. Robert L. Hailey and Mrs. Mary E. Hailey, my parents, both hard working and supportive of their children and Deacon Robinson. All are gone home now, but what a difference they made in my life.
Q: What talent do you most wish you had?
A: To be able to play a musical instrument.
Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A: "Somebody has to do the right thing and you let that person be you, son," from my mom.
Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A: Pray for peace, pray for their families and serve God first.
Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.
A: Over the years I haven’t really worked with many charities, but I have given myself to this community as others have for over 30 years trying to make Barstow a better place. I have coached for years and hopefully touched a few lives, changing them for the better. I have former players both male and female with law enforcement careers, which I hope was part of that decision.
Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: My family and my nephews currently serving in the military defending freedom all across the world when the United States is called upon and the Buffalo Soldiers.
Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A: “North to Alaska” with Jimmy Stewart. I like Westerns.
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in the High Desert?
A: I love the fall and summer nights.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: When I had a job, helping people on the freeways or involved in traffic accidents who needed medical aid.
Q: What book had a significant impact on you?
A: The Word of God, The BIBLE.
Q: Of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and why?
A: The High Sierras.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: All the places in the United States like Alaska, the Smokey Mountains, New York and other places in the United States; no desire to go over to Europe.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: Well I wanted to raise my children into productive members of society and make my parents proud of me and I have done that, so now I just want to go fishing with my grandchildren and hopefully see all of my grandchildren before it is time for me to go home.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?
A: Wow, now that is a difficult question. I have too many like Platas, Subway, Nick’s Place, Jack In The Box, Del Taco — too many to name.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Married to a beautiful woman named Karyn Allen from Santa Monica, Calif. — to be happily married to her.
Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
A: Sweets and ice cream.