Lori and Reynaldo Martinez. (Ilissa Gilmore Photo)
Instead of picking up a football or baseball, Dr. Reynaldo Martinez and his wife Lori encouraged their sons to pick up skills for life as Boy Scouts.
Joseph, 15, and Lucas, 13, both started as Tiger Cubs in first grade and have continued through the years, achieving various ranks and merit badges along the way. Reynaldo, 55, and Lori, 51, have been as actively involved and now serve as Scout master and committee chair, respectively, for Troop 149.
As such, they enrich the lives of middle- and high school-aged young men with fun and educational experiences, such as camping, welding, rock climbing and archery. Not only do the boys learn wilderness survival tactics, such as how to start a fire without matches, to hunt, trap and build shelter, Reynaldo and Lori said they also learn about life skills, such as financial management, personal fitness and citizenship.
“You don’t learn that from video games,” Reynaldo said.
Under their leadership, six of the boys in their troop — including Joseph — recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank a scout can attain in the organization. It’s an honor a boy holds for a lifetime and nationally, Lori said only two percent of Scouts achieve the Eagle rank.
The boys achieved the rank of Eagle in 2012, which also was the centennial celebration of the rank, and each scout received a special patch in honor of that.
To attain the rank, one requirement Scouts must fulfill is designing and leading a service project that benefits their community.
For his project, Joseph, a Goddard High School freshman, collaborated with ENMU-Roswell to set up a medical clinic in one of the school’s downtown buildings, located at 809 W. Alameda St., where low-income individuals with no access to health care can be treated and seen by professionals.
Jane Batson, interim assistant vice president for external affairs at ENMU-Roswell, worked with Joseph on the project and has known the family for a long time.
She said the Martinez family is one that truly works as a team. She remembers one Saturday morning, they and some Scouts went to the building and worked together to clean out one of the rooms to prepare it for use.
“The whole family was there to work on it,” she said. “That’s a neat thing in this day and age, to see them all together doing something like that.”
The clinic runs once a month and Dr. Martinez volunteers. “I just cannot tell you want it means to have someone like Dr. Martinez give of his time,” Batson said. “He and Lori have been wonderful getting that together.”
Lori is organized and thorough, she said, and Reynaldo, as a physician, has a holistic approach. “He just really cares for the whole person and that’s rare these days,” she said.
At the small family practice he’s had for more than a decade, Reynaldo usually sees 12 to 14 patients a day, ranging in age from as young as 2 to as old as 109. “We get to know our patients really well,” Lori said.
The term “family” is not in name only; Reynaldo and Lori do everything they can to make patients feel at home. The office has a cozy quality most other doctors’ offices lack, due to personality accents and personal touches, such as the whimsical, colorful display of tea cups lining the desk and walls of administrative assistant Teresa Gutierrez’s workspace.
Gutierrez, who is also Reynaldo’s sister, greets all who enter with a warm smile from behind the counter in the waiting room. Reynaldo’s sister, Lorraine Lopez, handles billing and even Lucas, a seventh-grader at Sidney Gutierrez Middle School, helps out around the office after classes.
But perhaps the most endearing sign of the family’s love for each other is the one that may go unnoticed. Outside the office, the names and hand shapes of both their sons have been imprinted into the sidewalk.
Though the office has a small number of patients, it doesn’t make it any easier to break away for the camping trips, which are a big part of Scouting, Reynaldo said. However, he said he and his wife remain inspired by the memory of original Troop 149 Scout Master Derek Brooks, who lost his battle with cancer in 2006.
Reynaldo, who was not a Boy Scout growing up, joked that he is carrying on a family tradition as a Scout master, since his father also was one, but never a Scout.
This summer, the Martinez family will join area Boy Scouts and leaders in attending the organization’s National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.
The event, which occurs every four years, brings together 50,000 Scouts from around the world to meet each other and enjoy activities such as white water rafting, ziplining, BMX biking, skateboarding and mountain biking.
Reynaldo and Lori also will be working at the event; Reynaldo will provide medical services and Lori will supervise patch trading among the Scouts.
The troop will hold a fundraiser spaghetti dinner at Assumption Catholic Church, Saturday, Jan. 26.
The church also sponsors the troop, facilitating its day-to-day operations. Likewise, the troop helps out around the church.
Lori said the union is a nice fit. “Scouting is really, really based on God,” she said.
To raise a boy into a successful man, she said, requires strong ties to family, community and religion.
“[Boy] Scouts bring that all together,” she said.