by Clint Boehler
HUERFANO- To some people, Friday the 13th is considered either lucky or sad. On Friday March 13, Charles "Chuck" Martinez retired from the Huerfano County Sheriff′s Office after 28 years as a Deputy Sheriff. There was little muss or fuss, which is how Chuck likes it.
His desire to be involved began when he graduated from high school. It was the Vietnam era and able bodied men signed up. Martinez selected the Navy, but ended up assigned to the Marines, and is a veteran of action in the Gulf of Tonkin. He served as a communications/signalman on the Destroyer USS Goldsboro, the first ship to utilize guided missiles.
Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Huerfano County and after a brief stint on the railroad, became a Lathrop Park Ranger. After two seasons there, he was hired as Deputy Sheriff by then Huerfano County Sheriff Harold Martinez. He attended law enforcement academy at Colorado Mountain College, and has worked all facets of duty under three Huerfano County Sheriffs, including the current Sheriff, Bruce Newman.
When the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) private prison facility established in Walsenburg, he tried it out due to the better pay and benefits. After two years there, the call of county patrol was too strong to resist and he returned to work as a Deputy under Sheriff Salazar.
Martinez says the best part of the job was helping people, even though some don’t realize they are being helped. He finished out his career by being the lead Deputy for the Huerfano County Courthouse Security detail. Five days a week you could find his smile and friendly greeting to people entering and doing business in the courthouse. His trademark is a well maintained and waxed mustache, which he decided to grow 39 years ago and has been tending like a garden ever since. It has the style of one of Dumas′ three Musketeers, with the dapper twirl on the ends.
Martinez has no regrets on his career and is amazed at the outpouring of well wishes from people when they learned of his retirement. He says it proves that if you like and respect people, it will be returned.
He and his wife Susan will visit their three sons and three granddaughters scattered around the country. When they return home, he will just see what appeals to him for the future. In this case, Friday the 13th was a lucky day for Chuck Martinez as he rides quietly into the sunset with the satisfaction of a job well done.