(Editor’s Note: The full article about Jeneva Martinez’s honor will appear in an American Home Week insert scheduled to be published later in April.)
Jeneva Martinez doesn’t like labels, but some people know her by some anyway: leading advocate for the local homeless, Drama Mama (her roller derby name), public health volunteer, nonprofit fundraiser and cancer survivor.
Now she has another moniker: the Roswell Association of Realtors’ 2019 Citizen of the Year.
“Jeneva is a breast cancer survivor, co-founder of the Roswell Homeless Coalition, author, and brought roller derby to Roswell,” said Dan Coleman, current president of the board for the association. “Her strength in adversity is inspiring. The work that she’s put into the homeless community and her efforts to give them a voice are life-changing. … We are all blessed to have Jeneva as a part of our All-American City.”
The Roswell native is also the mom to six children, ages 5 to 19, along with husband, Matt, while still finding time as a key organizer or fundraiser for the Four Paws Pantry, the Roswell Homeless Coalition, the Chaves County Health Council, the Chaves County Cancer Fund and the Feminine Project, to name just a few of the causes she has worked with over the years.
“I like to start projects and, once I see they are flourishing, I like to move on to something else,” she says. “What else would benefit? What else is heavy on my heart?”
Right now her charitable focus is organizing an Aug. 3 Chaves County Health Exposition, but what occupies every weekend is roller derby.
She competes for national rankings with the West Texas Roller Derby team of Lubbock, Texas, part of the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association. Years earlier, she organized the Roswell Roller Derby League, a group she still mentors that also serves as a women’s empowerment and support group, she said.
In late March, “Drama Mama,” as she is known by her fellow skaters, received her first professional skating pick from Chaya Skates, which has named her to its 2019 park team. She is also sponsored by Juice Wheels and Mountainside Skate Shop.
She says the roller skating, resumed at age 32, was meant to be a way to get physically active again after complications from breast reconstruction surgery left her immobile and in a wheelchair for many months.
“But it has turned into something else, far beyond what I ever expected,” she said, adding that being part of Team Chaya will give her “a platform to talk about things that I have been through, like the breast cancer. … “
Martinez’s accomplishments caught the eye of an author and anthologist, Karen Kennedy, who invited her to contribute a chapter to the book, “You’re Never Too Old To:” published recently through Amazon. Martinez collaborated with local freelancer Curtis Michaels to write the book’s third chapter. She is planning to sign copies at the Realtors Association luncheon in her honor, as well as at future events locally and in the state.
The Citizen of the Year banquet is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., April 23 at The Liberty, 312 N. Virginia Ave. For information about tickets, contact the Roswell Association of Realtors, 575-622-4726. The association’s office is located at 513 W. Second St.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.