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Sansum Staff Spotlight on Elizardo Martinez

Oct 10, 2017, 15:30 PM by Nicole Young
Elizardo Martinez

At their fall staff meeting, the supervisors of Sansum Clinic’s Pesetas Lane facility agreed longtime maintenance technician Elizardo Martinez deserved recognition. His twelve years of dedicated service to the organization, incredible attitude and sweet, humble demeanor made him the darling of employees there. The group wanted him to know how much he was appreciated.

“He has such a good nature that no one is afraid to ask him for help,” explains Pam
Challis, director of operations for Sansum Clinic. “He just does everything with a smile, and always goes above and beyond.”

The staff members decided the best way to honor the 56 year-old would be to declare September 27, 2016 “Elizardo Day” at their building. When the date arrived, employees surprised Elizardo with a gift card and a showering of praise for his hard work. “He exemplifies compassion, accountability, respect, honesty – all of the core values of Sansum Clinic,” brags Rob Young, Elizardo’s direct supervisor.

The technician is so beloved that anytime Rob needs to move Elizardo to another building, there’s a near revolt from the staff. “It’s a true testament to his popularity,” notes Rob.

Elizardo began working at Sansum Clinic in 2002. He left for one year in 2006 to learn air conditioning repair, then returned. Every day is different, but Elizardo is up for the challenge. He drives from his home in Ventura each morning with his wife Maria, who works in billing at Cottage Hospital. They arrive early in Santa Barbara so Elizardo can begin tackling the day’s requests for his service. Whether it’s climbing into a ceiling, moving someone into a new office or minor plumbing repairs, Elizardo enjoys the variety. “I like fixing things and I like working with tools and my hands,” he says. “It doesn’t really feel like a job because I enjoy it. I tell my kids, if you like what you do, than you really don’t have to do work anymore. Then, it comes from here,” he adds, tapping his heart.

Elizardo’s four sons, Carlos (28) Patrick (24) Matthew (18) and Emiliano (12) take their father’s work ethic to heart. Carlos will graduate from Cal State San Marcos this year and plans to apply to medical school. Patrick graduated from UC Santa Barbara and attends UC Hastings College of the Law. Matthew recently graduated from high school and will study biology at Ventura College in hopes of becoming a dermatologist. Emiliano made the 7th grade honor roll.

“We are not here because we were born into certain circumstances,” asserts Patrick as he leans in, speaking with serious reverence. “We are here because we stepped on our
parents’ shoulders and our grandparents’ shoulders. They are hardworking people and we feel an obligation to continue the same practices that they embraced.”

The Martinez brothers know full well their father’s American story that began with his arrival in the U.S. in 1982. Their entire lives, he’s shared with them the value of a good attitude and teamwork, a childhood lesson that began at home. “We pull each other up
and give each other encouragement and support,” notes Carlos. “Working well with others, that is what we need to succeed.”

Sansum Clinic is Elizardo’s second home not just because of the many hours he spends there. The relationships and connections he’s made over the years have had positively
impacted his family. The boys’ pediatrician Dr. Ernest Kolendrianos offered the Martinez brothers advice on higher education and medical school.

Dru Hartley, Sansum Clinic’s Director of Philanthropy, assisted the boys when they were investigating college scholarships. “He’s what Sansum is all about,” says Dru. “He’s a great behind-the-scenes guy who enjoys what he does, is good at it, and makes us all look good with the patients.” That helpful attitude comes easy for Elizardo, who will be happy to show up for work until he can retire and tour around the United States with his wife. He’ll answer the phone with a smile in his voice, armed with wisdom to take life’s bumps in the road with a grain of salt. “There are always some difficult days,” he admits.
“But we just need to work harder to resolve those challenges that life presents.”