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Success built on hard work, prayer and goals

Roswell native Marlin Wells adds the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award to a long list of athletic, professional and community recognitions. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The Leadership Roswell Alumni Association gives annual awards to people who have made outstanding contributions to the community. This year, the group has honored four people. The Roswell Daily Record is publishing an article each day about one recipient. This is the fourth article.

Marlin Wells had success early in life on baseball fields, and he said he has worked hard, leaned on God and given back to others during the past five decades so that he could continue to build a good life for himself, his family and others.

“I would attribute the life I have lived to goals, hard work, God’s blessings and generosity,” he said.

The Roswell native is this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association. The group has given the award to 24 philanthropists and community leaders since 1998, including to Kathleen Wells, Marlin’s wife, in 2019.

The recognition is only the most recent in a long list of accolades Marlin has earned over the years, starting with athletic honors for his accomplishments on championship baseball teams at Roswell High School, the New Mexico Military Institute and a college in California. That continued with two Bronze Stars and other commendations for combat in Vietnam and service in the U.S. Army, where he earned the rank of captain. He also has received many other professional and community awards.

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“He is a very kind, generous, dignified man,” said Jean Ann Dunn, a Leadership Roswell Alumni Association board member who nominated him for the award. “He also helps with our banquet every year, and he is involved with the community, as well. … We definitely wanted to give him the Lifetime Achievement Award because he has done quite a bit for this community.”

Both Marlin and wife Kathleen grew up in Roswell, and he was the pitcher who threw a no-hitter for the 1960 Roswell High School team that won the state title. He also earned All-American honors as a pitcher for the 1961 New Mexico Military Institute Broncos team that won the conference title and included his lifelong friend Gene Hardman and Roger Staubach, who went on to become a Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

After two years at NMMI, both Kathleen and Marlin went to Pasadena College, now Point Loma Nazarene University. In 2006, Marlin was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame.

“Marlin was a great competitor who could be counted on for a quality outing every time he took the mound,” a university website post states. “He would have starred in any era on any Pasadena/PLNU team.”

Marlin said he still attends NMMI and RHS baseball games and was once a youth coach when his sons, Rich and Greg, were young. They now live with their families in Colorado and California.

“I learned an awful lot playing baseball,” he said. “Teamwork, hard work, setting goals, not giving up.”

After college, he served about four years in the U.S. Army with a year in Vietnam, and then worked for about 20 years in the finance industry in Southern California.

The Wells family returned to Roswell in the 1980s, and he and Kathleen started Marlin Wells & Associates. Kathleen concentrated on employee benefits, while Marlin focused on investment and estate planning. Kathleen is now retired, while Marlin considers himself “semi-retired” and works with Phocus Financial.

When receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Insurance Advisors, Marlin was lauded for being a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table for 31 years and receiving a National Quality Award for 26 consecutive years.

While people in the area have benefited from his financial expertise, many more know him because of his philosophy of success, which he has summarized into a presentation known as the “electricity of goals” given every year for 27 years to Leadership Roswell program participants. It builds on something he learned during a business seminar in 1976 and has implemented ever since.

The basic premise is to create a “dream book” that lists everything wanted in all areas of life: family, financial, physical, social, spiritual and community. The dreams that matter most become goals, using the “SMAC” criteria: goals should be specific, measurable, achievable and compatible with your interests and values. Then, Marlin said, hard work, persistence and self-discipline — as well as God’s blessing — can make those goals achievable.

Marlin credits that philosophy for helping him and his wife achieve more than 220 of their goals, which he said are updated and revised all the time.

“It is never too late to start,” he said. “I think all of us are on earth for a reason, and it is to make an impact on other people.”

Marlin’s service to others includes two years as an appointed member of the Roswell City Council and work for many years as a volunteer leader for the Roswell Chamber of Commerce, the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. and the Roswell Rotary. For 13 years, he has been the facilitator of an interdenominational weekly Bible study that now has about 20 regular participants, and he has been a youth leader, a board member and a Sunday school teacher for Calvary Chapel.

He also remains a strong supporter of the Institute and the NMMI Foundation, having served two terms of about eight years on its board.

“He is thoughtful and generous, with a great sense of humor,” said Jimmy Barnes, the president and chief executive officer of the foundation. “He served on the NMMI Foundation Board of Trustees with the utmost integrity. Along with his valuable expertise, he also brought a positive attitude.”

Marlin said he thinks that part of the key to a good life is to appreciate and express the blessings.

“I have had a wonderful life,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that life has been perfect in any way, because we all have our character builders and issues and family and health and relationships. But I have had a wonderful, wonderful life as I look back.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.