Theresa Martinez is the new White Sands Missile Range Army Substance Abuse Program Alcohol and Drug Control Officer.
Where are you coming from?
My last employment was at Yongsan, Korea.
Can you tell me a little about your previous employment/background?
I was a nurse before I joined the Army in 1990. While on active duty, I worked as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, a Behavioral Science Specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and I was a psychometrician and assistant ward master on a psychiatric unit in Landstuhl, Germany. I earned my master’s degree in counseling before joining the federal service. As a civilian I have worked as a clinician, prevention coordinator, employee assistance coordinator supervisor and ADCO.
Where are you from and where is home for you?
I was born in Hollywood, California and grew up in Orange County. I have spent half of my life overseas so WSMR is now home.
Who are your family members?
My husband is Richard Martinez, that long haired hippie, biker dude that you will all come to know and love. We have six children, eight grandchildren and a great grandbaby.
What did you aspire to be when you were young?
Growing up in California, I was the oldest of eight children, so I guess you could say I am a natural born leader.
What led you to civilian service?
After active duty military service, it just seemed like a good fit.
Do you have any stories you would like to share from your time in civilian service?
Many years ago on my first day of civilian service overseas, my co-worker came up to me and told me I had taken her job and quit on the spot. I then assumed her duties…. we later became good friends.
What have you learned from previous leadership roles?
I have learned not to be fearful. It’s important to hold people accountable for their actions. It’s about principles, not personalities.
Is there anyone who helped guide you to where you are today?
I had a professor in college that I also facilitated groups with on the psychiatric unit. He has been my greatest source of inspiration.
What do you and your family like to do for fun?
My husband works in disaster recovery for FEMA and the thing that brings us the most pleasure is bringing hope to those who suffer. Whether it’s addiction to alcohol, drugs, anger, or a major life crisis due to a natural disaster, we like to offer a way out. It might sound odd to think of this as fun but it is! Instilling hope in a person who has lost it cannot be compared to any other joy in the world.
What do you like to do for fun?
My husband and I enjoy travel and reading. We also enjoy biking and are in training to do the Bataan Death March in the spring. He’ll probably run it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy a much slower pace as long as none of the Oryx, rattle snakes or coyotes are chasing me.
What are your priorities in your new position?
My priority is to introduce new evidenced based programs and to measure the outcomes. I need to know that what we are doing not only matters but has evidence to prove that it does! When we talk about dealing with people’s lives, my expectations are pretty high. But the rewards, far outweigh the investment. I believe we cannot keep what we have unless we give it away.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time here at WSMR?
I hope to accomplish implementing programs like “Mendez, Too Good for Drugs and Violence”, “Safe Talk”, “Strong Choices” and the latest version of “Prime for Life”. But most all, I would like to make WSMR my new home. Being overseas for almost 25 years has given me a greater appreciation for the USA. I truly feel like I am home after being gone for a very long time.