Namesake’s life efforts help push minority youths to greater heights

Reynaldo Leroy Martinez is proof that the most humble of beginnings can launch successful careers.

The former political consultant, senior adviser and chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid is the namesake of Martinez Elementary School, 350 Judson Ave., and the Martinez Child Development Center, 2901 Harris Ave.

The school, which is home to many minorities, was named for Martinez in the hopes that he will inspire a generation of youths to succeed no matter what their circumstances.

“He always motivated us to do the best we could do for the kids with the highest needs,” said Patricia Hodges, former principal of the school. “He really cares for the community and has always made it a point to teach kids that it doesn’t matter who you are. If you do your best, you can succeed.”

Martinez was the oldest of five children born to Reynaldo L. Martinez and Helen Martinez on June 22, 1937, in Chama, N.M.

The family packed their belongings to pursue sheepherding and moved to Reno, where Martinez attended kindergarten.

After the town of Henderson first emerged in the 1940s during World War II, the Martinez family moved to Southern Nevada and settled in Henderson. It was there that Martinez grew to adulthood.

He graduated from Basic High School, where he was a student athlete and elected student body president in 1956.

Martinez went on to attend Boise Junior College in Idaho, where he received his associate of art degree and then transferred to Arizona State University, where received his bachelor’s degree in education.

He found himself at a crossroads when his talent as a baseball pitcher earned him an athletic scholarship to college and the interest of a scout for the American League’s Washington Senators.

“When he was a junior and I was a sophmore, we played and won the Nevada state championships,” Reid said. “I honestly didn’t play much, but Rey was the king. He had a great left-handed pitch. He was so good.”

In the beginning of his adult life, Martinez dipped his toes in sports and education, and while those careers didn’t last long, he was recognized as an outstanding baseball coach in Nevada after he coached two state high school championship teams and as an outstanding educator in Clark County for his time teaching at Western High School.

He served in the United States Naval Reserve active duty between 1962 and 1964 and was honorably discharged.

Martinez’s political career started in 1968, when he was selected to join the staff of the Nevada Education Association. He served as the organizational, political and legislative consultant to the association until 1982.

“I remember during a visit to Colorado, a gentleman looked at me and said, ‘The only place I ever saw Mexicans was picking melons. I’ve never seen a Mexican at this level,’ ” Martinez said. “I was shocked.”

Despite such remarks, during his time there, Martinez was instrumental in the passage of three legislative benchmarks, including the Bilingual Education Act in 1968, the granting of cabinet status to the Department of Education in 1980 and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, which was sent to the states for ratification.

He then moved on to manage Reid’s congressional and senatorial campaigns. Reid was his former classmate at Basic High School. Martinez subsequently served as Reid’s chief of staff and was distinguished as the sole Hispanic chief of staff on Capitol Hill for 12 years.

“When I became chief of staff, I made sure I had Latino interns,” Martinez said. “Young Latinos had no chance of going to Washington when I got there. I received great gratification being able to mentor people and provide them with opportunities that seemed impossible.”

Martinez retired from government service in 1999.

Martinez Elementary School and the Martinez Child Development Center were dedicated in his name in 2000.

“The school was chosen to bear his name to instill the importance of a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and service to the community, the nation and the world,” stated the dedication.

“I had no idea they wanted to name a school after me. I always thought that honor was reserved for people who were bigshots in Las Vegas, like Wynn,” Martinez said. “The only request I made was that if my name was going to be used, the school should be in an area where there is a large Latino community.”

Martinez continues to visit the school and inspire a generation of students as often as he can.

“The most important advice I give students is to find out who you are and be true to yourself,” Martinez said. “Once you grab hold of who you are, you can change the world.”

Among his many accomplishments, he was named the outstanding Hispanic of the Year by both the Latin Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Club of Las Vegas. He also served as an adviser to Lt. Gov. Bob Miller, U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, state Supreme Court Justice Bob Rose and Gov. Mike O’Callaghan.

“Rey is a wonderful human being,” Reid said. “Naming a school after him is important to the Hispanic community. Here is a young man who came from hard-working parents and made his way in life. He is a great motivator for young people.”

Martinez is married and has two sons. He lives in Incline Village, near where his father started as a sheepherder.

During the last 10 years, he has kept himself occupied by writing an autobiography, which he hopes to release in the near future.

“He was always very caring and knowledgeable,” school principal Tim Adams said. “He worked very hard in life to get to where he is, and he really cares about the Latino community and their needs. He continues to stay fully active in Las Vegas and tries to visit the school whenever he can. I think a lot of our students are motivated by him.”

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

Bicyclists ride empty Interstate 11 before it opens Aug. 9
Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition sponsored a 25-mile ride on the yet-to-be-opened Interstate 11 to highlight bicycle and motorist safety. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead after shooting near Sahara and the Strip in Las Vegas
Lt. Ray Spencer briefs the news media on a shooting at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South that left one dead. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
2 in custody after chase
Two people were in custody after a chase involving Nevada Highway Patrol and Nye County Sheriff"s office deputies ended in southwest Las Vegas. Las Vegas police blocked off Rainbow Boulevard north of Tropicana Avenue around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Law enforcement personnel prepared to tow a black sedan as part of their investigation. It's not certain what precipitated the chase or where and when it started. Check back for updates.
Police Officer's Vehicle Was Taken During Shooting
Video from body worn camera footage released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday shows an officer realizing his police vehicle has been taken during the chaos of the Route 91 shooting. It was later recovered at Sunrise hospital with the keys in the ignition and nothing removed. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
See Kitty Hawk’s flying car cruise over Lake Las Vegas
Kitty Hawk takes their flying car for a ride in the company’s hidden test facility in Lake Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Las Vegas police wild pursuit through busy Las Vegas streets
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man shot strolling through park
A man was hospitalized early Tuesday morning after being shot while walking in a central Las Vegas park. Las Vegas police say the man and a woman were in Molasky Park just after midnight when the man was shot. The pair ran to a nearby supermarket where a security guard called for help. The man was hospitalized and as of 3 a.m. was in stable condition. Police have yet to identify the shooter and no suspects are in custody.
Police investigating shooting at east valley apartment complex
No one was injured late Monday night after someone fired shots at a vehicle at an east valley apartment complex. Police responded just before midnight to the Hamptons Apartments, 3070 S. Nellis Blvd. Someone fired shots at a vehicle that was leaving the complex, and struck the vehicle. Another bullet struck a nearby apartment building. The shooter or shooters remain at-large.
Suspect fires at Las Vegas police before officers shoot, end wild pursuit
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Hundreds Attend Slides, Rides and Rock and Roll in North Las Vegas
Hundreds attended the inaugural slides, rides and rock and roll event in North Las Vegas Saturday. The event featured a car show, water slide park and live music. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It's All Rainbows At The Center's New Cafe
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) introduced its new coffeeshop, Little Rainbow Cafe, in June. Rainbows are everywhere, even in the lattes and toast, and employees wear t-shirts with the quote "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Owner Ben Sabouri said the concept is "built around the idea of, you know, be kind and treat everybody the same." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a Rainbow Latte at the The Center's Little Rainbow Cafe
The Center, a community center for the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada, has a new cafe. Little Rainbow Cafe serves up a pride-inspired signature "Rainbow Latte." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed trying to cross Sahara
A pedestrian was killed Friday trying to cross Sahara Avenue near Maryland Parkway about 5 a.m. A sedan struck the pedestrian while the person was outside the crosswalk between Maryland Parkway and Pardee Place, according to Las Vegas police. Police also said the driver of the sedan remained at the site of the crash. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the 75th fatal crash that Las Vegas police have investigated in 2018.
Man shot multiple times
Las Vegas police are investigating after a man was shot multiple times early Friday morning. The shooting was called in about 3:20 a.m. at the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave., near Koval Lane. The man was hospitalized and is expected to survive, but police are still searching for the shooter.
Former Military Police Corps Officer Celebrates 100th Birthday
Summerlin resident Gene Stephens, who served as a military policeman in WWII and escorted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during the war, turned 100 on July 13, 2018. He credits his longevity to living a normal life, exercising regularly and eating three square meals a day. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured Tuesday night after a crash on Charleston Boulevard. The crash was reported just before 10 p.m. near Durango Drive, according to Las Vegas police. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with unknown injuries but is expected to survive. Las Vegas police are investigating the cause of the accident.
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara Has Lunch With Students
New Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara continued his listening tour by having lunch with students at Red Rock Elementary School as part of the district's summer lunch program. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children under the age of 18 can find a free lunch at 104 different locations across the valley through the summer months. Jara highlighted the free program and the importance of eating healthy during his visit. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Timeline Leading Up to Scott Dozier's Execution
Scott Dozier is set to be executed by lethal injection the night of July 11 at Ely State Prison. Dozier was convicted of the April 2002 killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller and was given the death penalty in Oct. 2007. In 2016 Dozier asked in a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti requesting that he “be put to death.” A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Program Helps Mothers Battling Addiction
Jennifer Stanert has battled drug addiction on and off for the last 21 years. It caused her to lose custody of one of her children, Alec, after she gave birth while high. A new program at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Hospitals aims to connect mothers like Stanert with community resources and provide case management services while still pregnant to get connected to lactation and parenting classes, group peer support and education on neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Felon caught with guns in Mandalay Bay room 3 years before Las Vegas shooting
A felon was caught with guns in a Mandalay Bay hotel room three years before the October 1st mass shooting. Six weapons were found inside Kye Aaron Dunbar’s 24th floor room in November 2014. Four were semi-automatic. One was a scoped rifle pointing toward the Strip, according to court documents. Dunbar was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for unlawful possession. The case just came to light in a lawsuit accusing Mandalay Bay of negligence in connection with the Oct. 1st shooting.
Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas area garner complaints
Clark County received nearly 25,000 complaints over the Independence Day holiday on a new illegal fireworks site. Reports from the site led to at least 10 illegal fireworks busts across the valley overnight. As of Thursday morning, the county is still compiling the total number of citations issued.
House fire displaces 2 people
Two people were displaced after a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire, at 963 Temple Drive in east Las Vegas, was reported just after midnight, according to a battalion chief from the Clark County Fire Department. Crews from the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas fire departments also were called in to help. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Red White and Boom" July 4 Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Full video of the Fourth of July "Red White and Boom" fireworks show at the Stratosphere as seen from the 8th floor Elation Pool. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite. (7-04-18) (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Crowds Enjoy Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Revelers enjoyed watching fireworks displays from the Stratosphere's 8th floor Elation pool on July 4. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed in Henderson
A pedestrian trying to cross St. Rose Parkway at Bermuda was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday night and later died. The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. Las Vegas police responded initially, but handed over the investigation to Henderson police once it was determined the accident happened in their jurisdiction. Las Vegas police did respond to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on the Strip. The person, who was hit by a BMW near Fashion Show mall, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
USPS owes $3.5 million for using Vegas Statue of Liberty on stamp
The United States Postal Service has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor after using the Las Vegas replica of the Statue of Liberty in a stamp. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Officer Brent Horlacher shoots at Jessie Murillo
Las Vegas police video of an officer-involved shooting on June 29, 2018. Officer Brent Horlacher, 28, fired a single shot at suspect Jessie Murillo. Murillo was not injured. The radio audio is of the officer who fired the gun and the body camera video is from a different officer. Radio audio excerpts are added to the video and are not the precise times the audio was spoken.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like