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August 31, 2006 at 12:18 am #1373
Joe Hermosa/Valley Morning Star
Pete Martinez, a 28-year veteran of the Border Patrol, and his wife Mary are involved in preparation for marriage classes and marriage encounters. The devout Catholics are also members of the Third Order of Franciscans and are active at Our Lady of the Assumption Church.
By ALLEN ESSEX
Church activities and duties as a Border Patrol agent keep Pete Martinez more than busy.
Martinez, 52, doesn’t have time in his packed schedule for fishing or watching sports on TV, he said. No time for golf or bowling either.
But he’s not complaining. The 28-year veteran of the Border Patrol started his career in Rio Grande City, transferred to Harlingen in 1983 and has served here ever since.
Martinez and wife, Mary, are active members of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church. They conduct preparation for marriage classes at their home for young couples and also participate in church marriage encounter programs.
They are also Franciscans, members of the Third Order of St. Francis, a division of the order for lay people.
Although he grew up in the Catholic Church in Brownsville, he underwent a powerful spiritual conversion in 1987, becoming much more involved in church activities, Martinez said.
He doesn’t leave his religious convictions at home, Martinez said.
“I’m the coordinator for the Community Partnership Program,” he said. “It’s a partnership between us and the community to help people basically around areas where we work, to help also resolve any issues with us and landowners in areas where we work.”
One of the community outreach programs he participates in involves work with the Family Learning Center in Los Indios, Martinez said.
“We do a lot of fund-raisers,” he said. “We helped the Los Indios Family Learning Center. They passed out a bunch of backpacks (filled with school supplies) to the kids.”
When dealing with potential illegal aliens as a Border Patrol officer, he treats them in a humane manner, not just arresting as many people as possible, Martinez said.
“When we find somebody (undocumented) in a household, the goal for the Border Patrol is not to separate families,” he said.
Families are kept together at least until an immigration judge has made a ruling on the status of someone found to not have proper documents, Martinez said.
“We do help a lot of people,” Martinez said. I apply my Christian principles.”
At church, he and Mary also organize the choir, spending many hours rehearsing.
“I play the guitar and she sings,” he said.
“We juggle the choir ministry, the preparation for marriage classes, the marriage encounters and work,” he said.
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