EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved the new official name of the Housing Rehabilitative Program building for individuals on probation and parole to the Iran Martinez Probation Services Building, in loving memory to Iran Martinez for his 20 years of dedicated service to Imperial County.
Assistant Chief Probation Officer Elizabeth Sais provided testimony about Martinez and his positive impact on her and others at the Day Reporting Center. She explained how he made everyone smile and how missed he will be.
The proposed action was to just rename the program, however, supervisors agreed renaming the building would ensure Martinez’s memory would live on as the program was temporary.
“I would like to take this a step further …” said Supervisor Michael Kelley. “The Day Reporting Center is a program, I would much rather and prefer that the building be named after Iran Martinez. That way it lasts forever.”
He elaborated the importance of renaming the building instead of the program. “Probation will be providing services to the community for many years to come. The Day Reporting Center could be here today, could be gone tomorrow,” said Kelley.
Kelley spoke of his personal experiences with Martinez, saying he was a dynamic individual who contributed to the community for many years.
“I would say if there were more people in the world like Iran Martinez, there would be no news tonight because we’d all be happy and safe,” said Kelley.
Supervisor Raymond Castillo seconded Kelley’s motion and was followed by agreements across the board.
“As a former probation officer, myself, I’ve always thought highly of that department and its staff. Iran was a very, very special person — very dedicated to that profession, very much a professional, and he’s going to be sorely missed,” Castillo said.
Castillo expressed his gratitude to Martinez, his condolences to the family, and ensured he would be in attendance for Martinez’s services later in the afternoon.
Supervisor Jesus Escobar recalled how Martinez helped him to view life differently as his daughter was diagnosed with cancer. He said talking to Martinez on a wide variety of topics during that difficult time of his life, made him look at life differently.
He cited a common phrase, “He fought a good fight.” However, Escobar said this was not a phrase he would say for Martinez. “I would say, ‘He fought a fabulous fight.’”
“He was an inspiration to many. He was an inspiration to me,” said Escobar.
Supervisor Luis Plancarte recalled Martinez’s volunteer efforts, saying Martinez traveled to Mexico several times — even at a personal risk sometimes — to feed the homeless who were living in make-shift homes made of pallets and cardboard.
The supervisors presented Martinez’s wife with the resolution and concluded the meeting to a short recess after an emotional presentation, according to Plancarte.