Darci Castillejos - Committment to Service

When Darci Castillejos went to her husband Mike and said she wanted to join the Navy, she feared he ...

When Darci Castillejos went to her husband Mike and said she wanted to join the Navy, she feared he would think she’d gone crazy. A Menifee resident since 1989, married for 12 years with two small children, and working for Bank of America, Darci felt a calling; a calling to serve. Now, 16 years later, she is the Asst. Officer in Charge, AOIC, of NCHB3, Surface Company Bravo. As a U. S. Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer leading 32 sailors in their cargo handling mission, she and her crew move cargo for other military units.

“The best part about being in the Navy is service to my country, helping my sailors achieve their goals and to advance, and to assist them in their careers. It’s not about me anymore.”

This week, Darci submitted her application to serve on the Menifee City Council, to fill the seat left vacant by the passing of Vice Mayor Fred Twyman.

A former city council candidate in 2008, Darci is no stranger to service. She has been on the Board of Directors for her HOA for twenty years, served as a Girl Scout Leader for six years, and belonged to the Menifee Valley Middle School PTSA for three years, serving one year as President. She became involved in Sun City Chamber, serving as President before the splitting of the Chambers, then the first Chairman of the Board after reuniting in 2008. During that time, in 2005 she became involved in Cityhood, eventually becoming the Vice President of MVIC, the Menifee Valley Incorporation Committee. She also served on GPAC, the General Plan Advisory Committee for the city.

“Organizations can become stale, and need new leadership. I’ve done a great many things, but in a quiet way. I’m not too much of a talker publicly, especially in a leadership role. I think that’s mostly because I don’t feel a need to toot my own horn. The goal is to accomplish things, not who gets credit for it.”

Currently Darci serves as the Treasurer of the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard, having been on the board in a number of roles for the past seven years, three years as President. She also is the Treasurer for the Menifee Action Group and Treasurer for the Coalition for Good Governance. Still finding the time to earn a living, she and Mike opened French Valley Cafe in 2000 and built the restaurant from the ground up. Her military duties require her to do 2 weeks a year, and one weekend a month, but she has some flexibility, and can choose when she does annual training.

Submitting her application to serve on the city council was not a step that she took lightly. Her committment to the city she loves has driven her along this path for many years.

“I would like to see Menifee as a city of neighbors; people who can agree to disagree civilly, where we preserve our unique character and rural flavor, while providing needed improvements, infrastructure, cultural, retail, and entertainment opportunities. I’d like to see us similar to Irvine; a well planned, well thought out city providing the right amenities, necessities, and providing for the needs of the citizens, all citizens, past, present and future. Respect our past, but look toward the future. This is why I’ve been so committed, to serve the city of Menifee, even before it was a city. ”

“One of my goals would be for Menifee to have a comprehensive trail system. It would give the youth the ability to ride bikes, the adults to jog or walk safely, and it would serve all residents equally. A trail system would create recreational opportunities for our youth and would promote a culture of fitness. At the same time, we would be taking that into a community improvement plan.”

“Of course, I want to encourage economic development, and bring jobs, retail and entertainment to Menifee. But what I hope we can build together is a real community that cares about each other, and to be neighbors. That is what drew us to the community, neighbor helping neighbor. That’s why I have been involved with so many of the local organizations , because we have a responsibility to one another. I am committed to Menifee; this is my home! I want to serve.”

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