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Monday, May 2, 2016

Martz recalls career path

Thursday, January 6, 2005

cleaning out the desk: Outgoing Fulton County Sheriff Lloyd Martz (left) asks deputy Paul Martin about a set of missing keys inside Martz's desk Dec. 30.
Staff Writer

It's a dream many young boys have had.All a boy from Saffell, Ark., wanted to be was Ted Williams and play center field for the St. Louis Cardinals.

A typical boy during the 1950s, he played baseball, collected comic books and waited for the day when he would don a major league uniform and step onto the field at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

Unfortunately for that boy from Saffell, his dream never came true.

Fortunately for the residents of Fulton County, that same boy spent 37 years of his life serving and protecting the community as a state trooper and Fulton County sheriff.

But Lloyd Martz still remembers his baseball dreams.

"I used to be able to hit a baseball, but now I don't think I could pick a baseball bat up," the 62-year-old Martz said with a laugh.

Martz, the Fulton County sheriff since 1999, opted to retire last year. His term of office ended at midnight Dec. 31.

The odyssey that took Martz into law enforcement began in 1967, a year after he was discharged from the Army.

"In 1964 I took a year off from college to find a job. Uncle Sam came along and found a job for me," Martz said.

The future sheriff was drafted into the military and served as a military police officer for two years in Germany. During his Army stint, Martz visited France, the Netherlands, Holland and his favorite European country, Switzerland.

"The place (Switzerland) was real clean. The people were exceptionally nice," Martz said.

Martz played center field for the ASU Indians for two years before he quit college. He said he quit because he ran out of money.

When he returned from Europe, Martz worked as a lumberjack with his father. One day while working in the woods he decided it was time to change his life.

"Dad was a fine fellow. He farmed and cut timber, but I didn't want to do that," Martz said.

Martz spent the next 30 years as a state trooper working in and around Fulton County.

There are many rigors associated with being a state trooper, but Martz said the most difficult aspect of the job was working wrecks in which people died.

"The toughest accident I ever had to work was over in Viola," Martz said. "Four people were killed in a head-on collision. Their bodies were crushed inside the car."

Over his career, Martz said he has worked 132 fatal wrecks. He said being at the scene of a wreck where a child died bothers him.

"When you see a child in a situation like that, it makes you think about what can happen to your own kids," Martz said.

Martz and his wife of 40 years, Pamela, have two girls, Stacy and Angela, and twin boys, Chris and Pat.

In 1999 Martz said he decided it was time for a career change. He ran for Fulton County sheriff.

He said his tenure as sheriff has been more rewarding than his time with the state police.

"With the state police, you're not able to build the personal relationships that you're able to in the sheriff's office," Martz said.

Martz said his record as sheriff speaks for its self. During his tenure, 60 inmates have been incarcerated within the state penitentiary system, an average of 10 per year.

"For a rural county like this one, that's pretty good," Martz.

If everything was going well, why did Martz decide to retire?

"I'm real tired. I want to spend time with my family and I'd like to fish every now and again," he said.

He said he is going to take a month off to rest. In the spring, he and his younger brother, Joe, plan to renovate the small 140-acre farm in Saffell the two inherited from their deceased parents.

Joe Martz, who served as Izard County sheriff during the same time period as Lloyd, also retired last year.

Martz said he will miss his co-workers at the sheriff's office. He said he liked everyone who worked in the sheriff's office, but he especially appreciated dispatcher Jan Cantrell and deputy Paul Martin.

"He (Martin) is so full of himself, always lying about turkey hunting. Paul's turkey hunting methods are definitely suspect," Martz said with a grin.

He said after he retires there will be few visits to the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. Every so often, however, he might stop in for a visit.

"I might come in here to bum a cup of coffee or listen to Paul tell one of his stories. Or as I like to put it, fabrications of the truth," a smiling Martz said.

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