Yucca Valley’s new mayor, Jeff Drozd, hosted his third and most successful “Soda With the Mayor” gathering Monday at the California Welcome Center.
The center on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday bustled with people chatting and enjoying coffee, soda of course and sugary snacks.
Drozd said his “With the Mayor” series gives people the chance to engage with their public officials.
Keith Board, who went to Yucca Valley High School with Drozd, came out to celebrate with his former classmate and friend.
“I’m very proud of him,” Board said. “Very proud!”
Councilman Jim Schooler stopped by to share some of the excitement. Morongo Basin Healthcare District Director Dianne Markle-Greenhouse greeted Drozd with a warm smile.
“I think it is a positive step and he is making himself assessable to the public,” Greenhouse said.
Copper Mountain College student Claudia Martinez, 22, said she is inspired by Drozd and his leadership. Drozd is a job developer at the Career Services Center at Copper Mountain College.
“He helped me make my resume and cover letter for a job,” Martinez said. “I got the job!”
Drozd is a Yucca Valley High School graduate who went on to teach at his alma mater before moving to his position at CMC. Drozd lost his arm about 11 years ago after doctors found a tumor in his left arm. The tumor was later determined to be osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones. For one year, Drozd had to go through high-dose chemotherapy at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The treatments shrunk the tumor, but not enough to save Drozd’s arm. Doctors surgically removed his arm in August 2004.
Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Wanda Stadum and Welcome Center Executive Director Kathie Ammar said they were happy to host Drozd for the event. They both also said they were happy to present the final renovations of the Welcome Center’s exterior.
“It’s a big improvement,” Ammar said. “It looks fantastic.”
Drozd has hosted two previous events since becoming the town’s new mayor. On Dec. 21 he held an event at the Hi-Desert Museum with about eight people and a second one with about four people.
“It’s about two a month,” Drozd said of the gatherings.
Drozd will host the next event on Valentine’s Day at Desert Christ Park and in April at the town’s South Park.
For more information, call (760) 369-7209, ext. 226. Drozd is also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.