Returning Home: The benefits of a strong welcoming community

It’s been about 20 years since I first arrived in Springville. It was a place that I didn’t appreciate at the time, but it would become an adopted home.

My family moved from the inner city suburbs of Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend in 2002, and as a newly-turned 11-year-old, I didn’t want to be here. Not only were my friends back in Southern California, but this small town in Utah didn’t have many kids who looked like me. Due to this, I felt very alone and like I didn’t belong.

Things started looking up as I began to make friends throughout my middle, junior high and high school years while participating in football and track and field. I was even able to meet a girl my senior year in high school who would later become my darling wife.

Even with all of the good things that happened from moving to Springville, I still had aspirations of moving away. I graduated from high school in 2009 and eventually left on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in West Texas and eastern New Mexico. 

For nearly a decade following my mission, I did what I could to build a life outside of Springville, living in Mesa, Arizona for several years. While my wife and I had every intention of staying in Mesa, after having  our first child in 2018, we started to feel the tug back to Utah.  

In 2020, we made our way back to Springville almost 18 years exactly after I had initially arrived. We have since purchased a home on the south end of town, and I have seen it is the best place for my family.

Both my parents and my wife’s parents live in Springville, and it just feels like I am home. I don’t think I realized that until I had returned and it was like returning home after a vacation. It just felt right.

Not only is being close to family what makes this place special; it’s also the community. It’s a place where I grew up and learned how to be an adult. I thank the coaches and teachers at Springville High School for their wisdom and guidance. Al Curtis and Jeff Roylance are both coaches who I came to respect and love while playing football.

I worked at Allen’s grocery store during high school as well as at Reams Springville Market after my mission. I have met so many wonderful people who have come through the stores, both familiar faces and new acquaintances. These experiences have helped me to know this is a great place for my children to grow up. 

I’ve found this to be particularly true recently as my son received an Autism diagnosis in early 2021. There are many helpful resources including Kids Who Count in Salem which is an organization that offers therapy services in the Nebo School District to both children with Autism and learning delays. I cannot begin to describe the care and love these technicians showed my son.

We sometimes take for granted what we have when we live it every day. This is true of many aspects in our lives, but I found this to be true particularly about the community I have grown to call home. 

During the short time I have spent writing for Serve Daily, I have come to learn more about both the Springville community as well as the other amazing cities in south Utah County. 

Don’t take it for granted like I did and don’t lose what makes your community special. It truly does make an impact. 

Josh Martinez
Josh Martinez
Josh Martinez is a graduate of Southern Utah University and Arizona State University where he studied communication and journalism. He has written for numerous publications in both Arizona and Utah on a bevy of topics including sports, city government and education. Martinez is a 2009 graduate of Springville High School and lives in Springville with his high school sweetheart and two kids

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