(Victorville) – Standing center stage on the set for the New Year’s Eve bash in the ballroom of the Green Tree Inn, Joe Flores looks out over the room that will soon be filled with fans and party-goers, and just takes it all in.
“I’m blessed to be in a position where I can give back to my community. That’s what it’s all about,” said Flores, who is now the General Manager at the historic Green Tree Inn.
Flores was born and raised in the Victor Valley, and his family has deep roots here. “I love the Valley, I love the community here, the High Desert’s always been a good home to me and to my family. My grandmother, my father’s mother, was born in a tent out behind the cement plant in 1923. My grandfather was also here in the valley for many, many years. They were married 60 years before he passed away in 2000.”
Flores’ father was also born and raised here in the Victor valley, owning a TV repair shop in Adelanto and becoming involved in all of the community events in that area. “We were involved in every event, from the chili cook-offs, to motorcycle races, to the city-wide yard sales, the Christmas parades, the fireworks stands – everything. I grew up in a life of community service.”
Flores has given back to his community by working with the Safe and Sober task force, working in the schools doing drug prevention and substance abuse education, teaching at Victor Valley High School in broadcast communications, teaching video production.
“I still hold my teaching credential. That’s something I do in the classroom when I’m teaching, I try to instill in the children the fact that you should never stop learning! There’s nothing that you can’t do, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”
Now his passion lies in working to restore the Green Tree Inn and working to bring the businesses in the area together. “I want to bring that crown jewel, that center piece, that pride and joy of what this property used to be back to the community,” said Flores.
“It’s a place for the functions for your family, and for your out-of-town family to stay. A place for our business customers to have rooms available for their corporate travelers to stay so that these businesses can continue to stimulate the economy in the center of Victorville and surrounding areas. Like with the Route 66 Festival, we’re not bringing it here for just Victorville or just for the Green Tree, this if for the entire area. This will have a significant impact on the area with everyone’s support.”
Flores and the Green Tree Inn have a close partnership with the Route 66 Museum in Victorville. He is now on the museum’s board, and he is on the board for the California Historic Route 66 Association. In August of 2012 the Green Tree Inn will host the California Route 66 International Festival, which is a four day event with concerts, car shows, vendors, and food. Enthusiasts come from all over to attend the celebration, many traveling the actual route to get there.
“This event will be a boost for our area, and an economic boost for the local economy. Here at the hotel we will have to hire more employees to help out,” said Flores.
Flores said he is passionate about the partnership with the Route 66 museum because, “It is contributing to our community, to the history and what really built our community centered around Route 66.”
“I do believe in going right back to our roots, and restoring the Green Tree Inn. It ties in with restoring our community. There’s tourism and travel dollars that our community loses out on because we don’t embrace the Route 66 heritage that we have, and the responsibility that we have to preserve the road through Victorville. Just as the Green Tree Inn played a part in the history of the Victor Valley, Route 66 is a part of history, not only for the United States but it is a well treasured piece of history around the world,” Flores said.
Jim Hall, who has worked with Flores at Victor Valley High School and who is also helping with promotions for the Green Tree Inn and the Route 66 Festival, said about Flores, “His family has evolved here, has been entrepreneurs, had their own businesses, so he knows the history. He knows what this place has been through, and fortunately enough at his age he saw it in its heyday. He grew up knowing that everybody dressed up and came to the Crown and Sword, and this was kind of the place to be. So he has this history and that passion behind it.”
Hall continued, “Along with that, being a part of the Route 66, the Green Tree sitting here just outside the LA area just adds to the excitement of what’s happening here.”
Steve Cardenas is the Assistant General Manager at the Green Tree Inn, and has worked with Flores before that. His thoughts on Flores, “It’s an awesome experience just to be in this position at such a historic place. I’m not originally from here, so Joe has taught me so much. Not only about the hotel, but about the whole area, and I kind of fell in love with it.”
“It’s been a pleasure to work here and watch this place grow from where we first started. Even going to the museum here. I’d never been there before, so we went together, and to see the things that he always talks about, seeing all the pictures and everything, just brought it full circle,” Cardenas said.
Flores said, “Growing up here and coming from here, I know that this community deserves more than what we have right now. These are things that other families, other individuals, have all brought to the area. I’m just helping.”