We all have our own journey: a path we follow, hoping to find and achieve our complete potential. Along the way, we meet people who turn into friends. And, if we’re lucky, a select few of those friends can turn into family. For Edodio (Able) Martinez and Dalton Adams in Sulphur Springs, Texas, this is exactly what happened.
Born and raised in Mexico, Able immigrated to Texas, and in 1986, found himself working as a repairman for a mobile home company. It wasn’t his dream job, but it kept him busy. However, Able wanted more. More for his family, more for himself and more for his community.
In 1990, Dalton Adams had a fire at his house in Ridgeway, Texas. He called a mobile home company to help with the repairs. The company dispatched an employee to help Dalton. That employee was Able.
Dalton immediately recognized Able’s commitment to quality work and dedication to the task at hand. Through the repair process, Able and Dalton became friends. The two chatted about life, family and aspirations. It became more than just a business relationship. Able told Dalton about his experience working on a dairy farm in Mexico and about his dream of owning his own dairy in Texas. Dalton was retired but harbored a similar dream — to have his own dairy. Both men had stumbled upon a new friendship that might be the beginning of something bigger. The connection was instant between the two hard-working men who wanted more out of life.
With limited capital, they decided to buy calves together to help raise collateral. When they lost the majority of calves they had purchased to disease, Able and Dalton, without hesitation, purchased a second batch of calves who fared much better and encouraged the pair to think bigger. They knew they could do this; they just needed a more permanent location to get things started.
In April 1993, the two provided labor for a local landlord in exchange for six months of rent on a run-down dairy in town. They hauled away 36 loads of trash and spent more than 1,000 hours repairing the dairy barn. Once up to snuff, they named the newly refurbished facility “Martinez Dairy.” Able’s dreams were turning into a reality, and Dalton was along for the ride accomplishing similar goals, not only as a business partner and mentor, but as a friend.
Able and Dalton started shipping milk on September 1, 1993. Shortly after, they began acquiring better genetics, grew their herd and started to establish their dairy. As the pair’s equity continued to grow, they started to achieve a level of financial stability. Able finally felt like he was in a position to invite his family to join him and his business. He wanted to share this experience. This wasn’t just his dream. It belonged to the entire Martinez family.
Able was overjoyed when his wife Olivia and their daughters, Maria, Adrian, Veronica, Olga and Jessica, joined him in Sulphur Springs. They could now run the dairy together, but more importantly, they could once again be a family.
Once Able had his family by his side, something special happened. His wife and daughters began to notice the relationship he had built with Dalton and the extraordinary bond began to grow to the rest of the Martinez family. Dalton helped the family get settled, helped them enroll in school and gave them a path to begin their lives in the local community. They saw the work Able and Dalton had put into the dairy and couldn’t help but build a similar connection with their father’s friend and mentor.
But it wasn’t just Dalton helping the Martinez family. Without any of Dalton’s close family nearby, Able, his wife and daughters welcomed him into their family. From holidays to everyday living, the relationship with Able and his family now went beyond the farm, beyond their friendship. Dalton was becoming a part of the Martinez family — he was the grandfather they never knew they needed.
In 2012, the Martinez family built a new dairy. Now at a new location, Martinez Dairy has been re-established and re-built, growing from 40 milking cows in 1993 to roughly 160 milking cows today. All the while, growing in their relationship, too, from a friendship to a partnership to a family bond. That family bond has made Martinez Dairy flourish. But that’s not all.
The long-lasting friendship between Able and Dalton continues to impact so much more than the farm. Four of Able’s daughters have graduated from Texas A&M-Commerce with careers in education, social work and pharmaceuticals. The fifth daughter, Jessica, is currently enrolled at Texas A&M-Commerce studying to be a nurse. Once graduated, all of Able’s daughters who came to America in 1997 will have college degrees and prosperous careers. They credit Dalton with helping them along the way.
Now, Dalton tries to stay “retired” and Able runs the dairy. Their working relationship, friendship and family bond is stronger than ever. Dalton now lives on the operation with the family who credits him with helping them achieve their dreams in America as a family.
What began with a hardworking man helping a retiree fix their home, turned into an American family success story. All because of friendship, family and dairy farming.