Rios-Martinez wins clerk of year

Berta Rios-Martinez stands in the Brewster County Courthouse where she has served as county clerk for nearly 32 years. Courtesy photo

Many know Berta Rios-Martinez as the long-serving Brewster County Clerk, whether working with her professionally, or getting to know her personally throughout the years.

She has achieved success in all facets of her life, and Rios-Martinez has now reached another milestone - she was recently selected as County Clerk of the Year for the State of Texas.

Her years of dedication, commitment, and loyalty have enabled Rios-Martinez to achieve this distinguished award. She is second in line among Brewster County clerks in terms of time served, after J.W. Frazer, a long-time county clerk back in the late 1920s.

Born and raised in Alpine, Rios-Martinez graduated from Alpine High School in 1985, and attended Sul Ross State University for two years, where she met her husband Mario. They were later blessed with four children.

After being nominated this spring from Region 3 where Brewster County is located, Rios-Martinez beat 253 other clerks from all over Texas. The official announcement was made on Aug. 19, and she is set to receive a distinguished plaque from the state any day now. The courthouse staff celebrated the honor with balloons, flowers, and a cake.

“This is just amazing, and this is history,” exclaimed an exuberant Rios-Martinez. “Never has the county clerk in Brewster County won that honor, and being the first Hispanic county clerk is another point. I am really overwhelmed, and still in shock!”

Rios-Martinez feels honored to work for Brewster County. Not only is she proud about forming close friendships with residents all over the Big Bend, but she also feels privileged to have a dedicated and hard working staff in her office.

“You become family, especially after so many years,” said Rios-Martinez. “It’s been a great experience. I never thought I’d work here so long, but just loving the Brewster County citizens is helping me stay here, and I am thankful for my great, amazing staff.”

Rios-Martinez enjoys greeting all the customers who walk into her office, and serving them with important documents like deeds, marriage licenses, birth certificates, and other records. Many customers comment about her loyalty and longevity at the office, and some are even surprised she is still there.

Rios-Martinez is approaching the 32-year mark, but is not looking to retire anytime soon.  

“It’s getting close, but I can’t tell you when,” she said. “When you wake up in the morning, and you don’t want to come to work, I guess that’s a good sign that it’s time to retire. I think about it, but I love my job. I love serving Brewster County.”

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