Long-Time El Monte Community Volunteer Retires
Mr. Bill Yates is retiring from the El Monte Air Resources Board after 56 years of service. He first began his career at the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control District and moved to the State Health Department. Then he moved to the Air Resources Board in Downtown Los Angeles, which moved to El Monte in 1971.
Mr. Yates lives quite a busy life. He is involved with the Red Cross, volunteering and using his vacation time, helping out after many disasters, including: Whittier Narrows Earthquake, Hurricane Iniki, 911, and Hurricane Katrina. At one time, Mr. Yates served as the Chairman of the San Gabriel Valley Red Cross. Even today, he has promoted the Red Cross Blood Drive at the El Monte Air Resources Board.
Besides the Red Cross, Mr. Yates also volunteers his time with the El Monte Kiwanis and has held the office of President and was very active with Key Club at Arroyo and Mountain View High Schools. Actually, the membership in Key Club at Arroyo High was 350, the largest membership for any school in California, Hawaii, and Nevada.
In addition, Mr. Yates served as Vice-President of the El Monte Chamber and was part of the “Trade Delegation,” serving as an advisor to the California State Leadership Initiative to Eastern Europe. He represented the American Red Cross, the Chamber, and the State of California.
I asked Mr. Yates how he would like to be remembered. He told me that children should be our first priority. Mr. Yates wants to be remembered as someone who inspired kids because they are our future. He said he was inspired by the Boy Scouts of America, and his troop #270 in Cleveland, which was the largest troop in the projects. His mom was a den mother and he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. But he named three people that have inspired him: Carl B. Stokes, the first black mayor of a major U.S. (Cleveland) and was elected the first black Democrat to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1962; Louis Stokes, “who rose from Cleveland’s projects to become a lawyer, and was elected Ohio’s first black congressman;” and Judy Chu, U.S. Representative for California’s 27th Congressional District, who “is a dynamic lady and proactive and supportive of her district.”
Does Mr. Yates ever have any free time for himself? One of his favorite things to do is attend the Kentucky Derby each year. Mr. Yates has been going to the Derby since Telly Savalas owned horses there in the 1960’s. What will Mr. Yates do after his retirement? He plans on moving back to Cleveland, Ohio to help his sister who has Alzheimer’s. Of all of his accomplishments in life, Mr. Yates is very proud to be a great-great-grandfather and I am sure he is looking forward to more volunteering.