FORT LUPTON — Memories mean a lot to former Fort Lupton resident Len Martinez.
Martinez grew up here, the son of Julian and Mary Martinez on Pacific Avenue — he attended Fort Lupton schools through his graduation in 1953, after which he joined the U.S. Air Force.
After leaving the service, Len and his wife ended up in San Leandro, Calif., and later moved to Cameron Park, Calif., about 25 miles north of Sacramento. Even though Martinez has spent much of his time on the West Coast, he still thinks back on his time in the military and life back home in Colorado.
“My thoughts and many friends remain very memorable during my upbringing in Fort Lupton,” Martinez said.
As a way of recognizing the steps he took along the way, Len had some inspiration many months ago after one of the historic oak trees in his year had an infestation and was due to be removed.
“When the tree removal contractor showed up for the project, as he commenced removing the upper branches approximately 85 feet from the ground, I as a woodcarver,
is when my idea sparked for a totem pole,” Martinez said.
Martinez said that when the contractor had shaved down the dying tree to about 9 feet from the ground, he instructed him to stop — so that Martinez could then use his skills as a woodcarver to create a totem pole in tribute to America and the armed forces.
“How does one show appreciation to the many who have served and protected our country, not to mention those who have lost their lives?” Martinez said. “What better way than to carve a totem pole with an eagle protecting Mother Earth, Old Glory, the stars and stripes, to include the United States Air Force logo, and all other military branches?”
In addition to the American flag and bald eagle designs Martinez crafted for the totem pole, he said he also added a “smiling bear” at the base of the totem pole.
“This represents that no matter how bad things are, keep smiling, chin up and keep going,” Martinez said.
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