The Riverside County Board of Supervisors appointed two new members to the County Service Area 36 Advisory Committee at its Tuesday, March 21 meeting — Mark Garrett
and Ted Janka. Both are relatively new to the Hill and are profiled here so CSA 36 district residents can get to know them.
Garrett is pastor of the Idyllwild Assembly of God congregation. Born in Kirkwood, Missouri, Garrett grew up in Hemet. He attended Hemet High and until 2010, worked in the construction trade. Then in 2010, after hearing a call to the ministry, Garrett became involved in pastoral service.
“I had led a pretty dysfunctional life and had become estranged from my family,” he confided. With help from a program in San Diego, and heavily influenced by the true story of a pastor’s intervention and success in ministering to gang youth — “The Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson — Garrett found his calling. “I gave myself over to the ministry and a mission of Christian discipleship to help people with problems,” he related.
Critical in how he saw his future was a quote from Matthew 5:19, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Garrett recounted that since moving to Idyllwild, he has organized outreach programs held on the Idyllwild Community Center site with games for kids and music to help raise awareness about his congregation and to better connect to the community. He also has organized skateboarding demonstrations for the last two years at the Idyllwild Skate Park to involve local youth.
“I saw in the Town Crier that the CSA Advisory Committee had two vacancies and since they needed volunteers, I volunteered,” said Garrett.
Of his prospective service on the advisory committee, Garrett said, “It would be great if we could get some input from our seniors about what they want for recreation. They
deserve to be treated with respect. Children are our future, and there needs to be a balance in offerings to all we serve.”
Also relatively new to the Hill is Ted Janka. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Janka worked in banking and communication before attending interior design school in Denver. From Colorado, Janka moved to San Diego, again working in communication, this time working with Pac Bell.
When his husband Chuck’s mother needed help, the couple moved to the Pittsburgh area to look after the mother. “We there there for 16 years then moved back to California, initially to Palm Springs,” said Janka. “I became involved with an organization called 1PS, a networking group of 43 neighborhoods. With two representatives from each neighborhood, it was a way for neighborhoods to communicate and share information on areas of common interest.”
Janka said when the couple moved to Idyllwild last September he looked for ways to become involved in the community, to “understand its heartbeat … I want to be involved and contribute to my community. I’m political but not one to join political groups. I am much more community oriented and how we can make communities better.”
Like Garrett, when Janka heard there were vacancies on the CSA 36 Advisory Committee, he, too, volunteered to serve.