John Martinez was born July 3, 1929 in Cleveland, New Mexico. As a young man, he assisted his family by performing farm work while also attending school. With determination, he graduated from high school in Johnstown, Colorado in 1948.
In January, 1951, John accepted a position at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) in Pueblo, Colorado. He was drafted in April 1951 and served in the United States Army in Germany during the Korean War until his honorable discharge in 1953. As a Korean War veteran, he also joined the American Legion, participating in several activities including ceremonies to honor those surviving Korean War veterans in Pueblo.
Following his military service, John completed an apprentice training in 1956 and then worked as a journeyman, finishing his career as assistant foreman of the pipefitting department in 1986. John worked in various locations including the Rail Mill, Tube Mill, Blast Furnace and Coke Plant as lead pipefitter and then moved to steel production. He often worked six days a week when additional help was needed. His favorite memory was in steel production, knowing the dangers of the area but enjoying the thrill of being on top.
Prior to his retirement from CF&I, John paid for his daughter to attend college. He was able to attend and celebrate her graduation from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1986.
John is a member of several community organizations such as the Elks, Eagles and American Legion lodges. He was initiated into the Elks Club in 1969 and spent seven years progressing through officer chairs on the ritual team becoming the Exalted Ruler in 1985, the first with a Spanish surname and heritage. Dedicated to the organization, John participated in many of his fellow member’s memorial services and served the Pueblo community by delivering food baskets to those in need through the Elks Lodge. In 1997, he was elected as District Deputy of the Elks club and in this position, he was responsible for raising funds for an organization that helped send children with cancer to Disneyland.
Collaborative application submitted by Jody Langford, Alyssa Price and Donna Martinez