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Iron Mountain man nominated as Stormy Kromer Living Legend

December 12, 2012
The Daily News


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN - Sam Martinez spent his life helping others whether it was through Boy Scouts, an EMT/Firefighter, conducting ice water rescues or by delivering babies.

Article Photos

Lisa M. Hoffmann/The Daily News Photo
Sam Martinez of Iron Mountain is one of 10 finalists for the Stormy Kromer Living Legend 2013. Martinez has spent his life helping others.

So to give back, his son, Christopher Martinez, nominated his father as a Stormy Kromer Living Legend 2013. He is one of 10 finalists.

"It's pretty neat. You never hear from your kids (about how you were as a parent) and when they grow up. It's nice to hear what he thought about his childhood," Sam Martinez said.

According to Chris Martinez's nomination, his father has been a Boy Scout Master since his brother, Fred, was in the first grade.

"He was my Tiger Cub, Cub Scout and Boy Scout Master, with over 25 years of service in the scouts. We have camped, hiked, canoed, kayaked and rock-climbed all over the U.P., Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada," Chris Martinez said.

"He has helped more than 25 scouts achieve Eagle Scout rank. His legend is left in all those young men he taught how to be men," Chris Martinez said. "He did all of this while raising two boys of his own, working full-time and volunteering at multiple fire and ambulance services. He has been an EMT since the late 1970s and during his service he has saved lives and helped birth babies on the side of the street."

Additionally, Sam Martinez developed an ice water rescue team in Hermansville that expanded to five surrounding communities developing their own systems. He has volunteered on an all-Upper Peninsula of Michigan Hazmat Team.

He has also taught First Aid and CPR for the American Heart Association for 30 years.

Currently, he works for Verso Paper Mill as a control room operator in the Power & Utilities Department and is active in the Emergency Services for the mill. He also works part-time for the Iron Mountain Fire Department and is on call with Beacon Ambulance.

Chris Martinez said his father is the ideal candidate for Living Legend status due to his community service and all the years spent freezing cold while a bunch of scouts burned his supper.

Originally from Alabama, Martinez came to the U.P. with the Quinnesec papermill in 1985. He has two adult sons, Christopher and Fred Martinez.

Now a resident of Iron Mountain, he previously lived in Norway and Hermansville, and he likes to hunt and fish.

Sam Martinez said he has been an EMT/Firefighter his entire life.

As for Boy Scouts, he started with them in Quinnesec in 1985, then moved into being a Cub Master.

"Even after my kids graduated, I enjoyed working with the boys and met some good kids," he said of being a scout/cub leader.

He even started Troop No. 578 in Hermansville.

"Over the years, I was able to be involved with 25 scouts who achieved Eagle Scout rank," said Martinez, 54, who gave up being a scout leader two years ago. "With scouting, I appreciate what I did to make a difference in others' lives. I wasn't counting Eagle Scouts and was trying to help kids."

Martinez recalled shopping at a local grocery store and purchasing nine chickens and a five-pound bag of potatoes for the scouts. He said the cashier had questioned his purchase.

Martinez added there were many interesting, not burnt, meals prepared by the scouts.

Some of those included scrambled pancakes, salad dressing in the sauce of spaghetti, soupy mac and cheese, and cutting up a turkey with a bow saw so that it would fit in the pot to be cooked.

"Over the years, I met really, really good kids and seen them grow from crying kids to young men who made it," he said. "It's been quite the journey."

There are 10 Stormy Kromer Living Legend 2013 finalists.

The grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift certificate for Stormy Kromer gear, be featured in the 2013 catalog and have a donation made in their named charity of their choice.

Martinez's chosen charity is the American Cancer Society.

Sam Martinez said it would be nice if he won. But added, "There are a lot other candidates that are just as deserving."

Martinez said he loves and uses Stormy Kromer gear and his sons and granddaughters also have the super high-quality gear.

"I would use it even more," he said if he won the gift certificate.

Made by Stormy Kromer Mercantile in Ironwood, the famous woolen Stormy Kromer Cap has been a favorite of outdoorsmen for generations.

To vote for the Stormy Kromer Living Legend 2013, visit Vote daily through Sunday.

Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is



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