BRAWLEY – Hundreds of mourners gathered at Warne Field Friday night to celebrate the life of Martin Alberto Garza. Reverent silence filled the field as Martin took his last ride in his cobalt blue ’69 Chevrolet in a decked out blue and gold coffin as his favorite music played over the same speakers that once announced his football accolades.
Everything about Martin spoke of the love of his family and friends for each other. Even the truck spoke of strong family ties and traditions. His grandfather bought it in 1969. It was passed down to his father, who fixed it up and put his mark on it. It was then passed down to Martin who was putting his extra money into it to make it his own. Final touches to the truck were included for the service to make it just how he wanted it to look.
Martin’s diverse interests and friends were evident as various groups said goodbye in ways that were relevant of their relationship with this popular teenager. Two friends had a “dance-off” to celebrate Martin’s love of dancing while later the BUHS Glee Club sang, “Boys of Fall” signifying his love of football and the bond the players had with each other.
Representatives from both Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez and U.S. Congressman Juan Vargas presented flags flown in Martin’s honor.
Speakers from all walks of Martin’s life spoke of this young man and his short, but impactful time on earth. Central cheerleaders joined Brawley’s to stand in honor of their fallen friend, and a representive from each high school band joined the drum line as they brought unity to the valley.
This was a sad, tragic, and totally unnecessary death, yet out of the tears and broken hearts, good is immerging from the pain. A MAG Coalition is being formed. Besides being Martin’s initials, they bear another marker, Mother’s Against Gangs Coalition.
This group, made in the memory of Martin, will help to visualize and realize a safer and more secure Imperial County community through educating our youth and citizens of the dangers and violence of gangs. Their goal is to raise awareness of the gang life in our communities and offer preventative choices.
(Joel Gonsalez at Desert RV and friends did the custom paint job on the casket.)