Treasure Valley College honors longest serving employee

The Treasure Valley Community College Board of Education honored the school’s longest-
serving staff member at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20. 
Dana Young, TVCC president, presented custodian Gilbert Martinez with a plaque to
commemorate his 50 years with the college. 
“As we celebrate our 60th anniversary,” Young said, “we would like to recognize an employee
who just never left.” 
To put Martinez’s tenure at the college into a historical context, she said gas in 1973 was 39
cents a gallon; the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, and at the time, Martinez made $3.50
per hour. 
Young said Martinez had become the college historian given all the change he has seen over
the years. 
When Martinez was hired, the college was just over a decade old and on its second president,
Emery Skinner, who came on in 1967 and served until 1983. 
During that time, Martinez said the college was relatively small. Today, it has grown to 14
Over the years, Martinez said he has always worked by himself and that has always been his
favorite aspect of the job. Nobody has ever had to tell him how to do his job. 
“I know what needs to be done and I get it done,” he said. 
No stranger to hard work, Martinez, who moved to Ontario with his family from the Rio Grande
Valley in Texas when he was 15, said before taking the job at TVCC, he worked on sugar beet
farms and for a time at the Ore-Ida food processing plant. 
“It was hard work out on the farm,” Martinez said, “because you’re working outside in the heat
and the cold.” 
Nonetheless, he has always had a lot of energy that shows no sign of dissipating.  
Martinez, who worked the graveyard shift from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Instead of crawling into bed with
the blinds closed to get sleep, Martinez, who, at the time, lived near Ontario High School, would
go run on the track. 
“Now, this is the truth,” Martinez said, “I used to go home change and change (my) shoes and
go to the track.” 
These days, while he is not running on the Ontario High School track, he is still up and going
and said he has never has been someone who needed hours and hours of sleep. 
A big sports fan, Martinez said he used to love to attend baseball, basketball and football games
over the years. 
He said the college produced many professional athletes that he saw come through TVCC. This
included major league baseball players, such as Lenn Sakata, who was the second Asian
American to play professional baseball and played for the Baltimore Orioles and Jeff Lahti, who
attended the college from 1975 to 1977 and went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals. Lahti
was a member of the Cardinals when they won the 1982 World Series. 
Martinez said back then, the coaches recruited players from all over the country, not only in
baseball but in football and basketball as well. 
Young presented him with a lifetime pass to any sporting event on campus. 
Martinez said during the 1970s and 1980s, there was much more diversity on campus, he said
the college drew students from Japan, Mexico and the Pacific Islands, among others. 
“It was completely different from what it is now,” he said. “We had a lot of students from a lot of
different countries.” 
Martinez said the school has been good for the community’s young people. 
“It’s been a good school for a lot of different kids,” he said. 

Young said that Martinez had contributed a lot to the community. Martinez, who raised his
daughters in Ontario, has three grandsons. 
While Martinez said he is not looking to retire anytime soon, he has scaled back his schedule to
be home with his wife Linda, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease some time ago. 
Martinez said that Linda was a teacher for nearly 40 years in Payette County. 
“I’m doing the best I can,” he said. “If I have to quit, it’ll be because my wife needs me home and
I’ll just have to be home for her.”
However, if his wife’s health improves, Martinez said he’ll keep going strong. 
“In my mind, I have never said I want to quit,” Martinez said. “If I wanted to quit, I would have
quit long ago.”

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