BRAWLEY — For Christtian Gonzales, recalling the time his classmate Martin Garza wore a pink shirt to school will always bring a smile to his face.
“I just remember seeing him and thinking, ‘what is he wearing?’” Gonzales, an 18-year-old senior at Brawley Union High School, said with a smile. “But that’s the type of person Martin was. He didn’t really care what people thought or said. He was comfortable being himself.”
Gonzales was one of many Brawley residents and students who helped organize a barbecue fundraiser in honor of Martin, the BUHS student-athlete fatally stabbed a week ago today.
Gonzales said he would also remember the time he spent playing football with Martin.
“He was a great leader,” Gonzales said. “He was very competitive and he loved playing football.”
Event organizer Veronica Sanchez said 1,200 tickets had been sold for the barbecue in advance, which was made possible through various donations.
Sanchez said she put a post on Facebook asking for help and the rest took care of itself.
“Martin was my son’s best friend,” Sanchez said. “They played football and baseball together.”
Sanchez’s son, Daniel, said although his best friend is gone, he will recall the memories that were made this past football season.
“(Martin) would always help others before he helped himself,” Daniel, an 18-year-old BUHS senior said. “He did whatever he could to brighten people’s days no matter what.”
Daniel said the thought of all the Valley’s football teams attending Martin’s services later this week is a well-deserved tribute to his “brother from another mother.”
“Honestly, it means a lot to me,” Daniel said. “It shows that they respected his character on the field and his love for the game.”
For Yethel Alonso, the opportunity to see her community embrace her family during this difficult time is something she will always be grateful for.
“I will never have enough words or days to express the amount of gratitude I feel toward everyone who has helped our family,” Alonso, Martin’s aunt, said. “We are so eternally grateful. This proves what a great kid he was. It serves as a reminder of how blessed were to have him.”
Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or email@example.com
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