This native New Mexican, a Navajo, made the initial discovery of uranium in the San Juan Basin, the most important uranium-producing area in the United States. The region yielded in excess of $25 billion in uranium and contained 60 percent of the known uranium resources in the nation.
Paddy's find in the summer of 1950 was on a reddish mesa called Haystack Mountain, near Grants, New Mexico. At the time, the population of Grants was around 2,200; it soared to well over 50,000 in Cibola County within a few short months.
The boomtown atmosphere lasted for almost 30 years, spurred by the world race to develop atomic energy and the United States government's need to develop new sources of uranium.
As a result of Paddy's discovery, he became the subject of feature articles in numerous publications and magazines, including Time, Life, True West and Reader's Digest. Described as "one of a kind," he was fluent in the Navajo, Laguna, Spanish and English languages. He was a medicine man and a leader in his community and state.
In an era when research is proving many peaceful uses of the atom,. Patricio (Paddy) Martinez is respected and remembered for his contribution to mining and to mankind.