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Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Thomas H. Martinez

2014 Inductee

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Thomas H. Martinez (1914-1985) served his country, state and community for 52 years; in the military, as a government civilian employee, and in many civic organizations.

Born in Sopris, Colorado, LTC Martinez graduated from Huerfano County High School in 1933 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. From Private to Lieutenant Colonel over a 20 year career, including service in WWII and Korea, he retired in 1962.

Once he retired, LTC Martinez became passionate about education equality, especially for Hispanic youth. Education-the birthright of every American became his rallying cry.

He helped establish the Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF) and a scholarship fund awarding $100,000 in scholarships per year. He inspired and enabled many underprivileged youth to continue their education. LTC Martinez served as chair of La Raza Unity Council, president of St. Vincent De Paul Society, and president of the Colorado Springs Chapter of the American G I Forum. In 1978, he was the recipient of the “Hispanic Employment Program” from the U.S. Civil Service Commission. In 1988, a District 11 elementary school was named in his honor, LTC Thomas H. Martinez Elementary. He lived a life of tireless service exemplified by a favorite quote, “I’d rather wear out than rust out.”