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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Community helps grieving UA family

    Since the death of Maria “”Tess”” Martinez, the UA student’s family has faced nothing but trials and tribulations.

    “”The biggest tragedy is not having her around – how much easier it would be if she was here herself, to tell a joke or offer a smile,”” her brother Michael said of the 25-year-old, “”especially at a time like this.””

    A car accident in New Mexico took Martinez’s life on June 1. She was on her way to an journalism internship in Chicago. Martinez was heavily involved in the UA Journalism Department and was slated to begin an internship with the Arizona Daily Star in the Fall.

    “”I was in complete and utter shock. Disbelief. I had trouble holding myself up, and spent the night crying, as well as remembering what a fantastic person she was,”” said friend Stephen Hackney. “”And remembering, over the last week, all the good times that we shared. She was genuine, sincere and driven.””

    Following the accident, it took several days to transport Tess’ body back to Tucson, where her family anxiously waited.

    Once the body was returned to Arizona, arranging for a funeral at the mortuary took several more days, days Dorreen Martinez cannot afford.

    While grieving Tess’ death, the family must also worry about its finances.

    As a divorced mother of nine, Dorreen has struggled for years to support her family, working at Maxim Healthcare Services as a caregiver. Since losing her only daughter and first-born child, she has missed over a week at work making final arrangements.

    So far, members of the church have made several donations, but the family knows that much more is needed.

    “”(Costs) are the last things we want to contend with, and there’s been a generous financial outpouring of support,”” Michael said.

    Members of the community and of the church have also made an effort to support the family by donating food.

    “”Every day, some new friend finds out and brings over food,”” Michael said. “”It’s a new shoulder to cry on.””

    But the financial woes do not stop there.

    Flying into Tucson from an Air Force base in South Korea and Indiana University in Indianapolis has been an expensive venture for two of Tess’ brothers, especially Michael, who must already pay for his schooling through grants and loans.

    Working through the financial hardships that have followed the family through their personal tragedy, the family has come face-to-face with proof of how many people Tess Martinez impacted in her 25 years.

    “”Now, more than ever, we realize how many lives she’s touched, and how many lives she’s changed,”” Michael said. “”There’s a great deal of people that cared about her and they’ve come through.””

    Since searching for support, there has been an overwhelming response from not only the community but Tess’ extended friends.

    “”As to the response from the community and friends, I can’t even begin to thank people. Tess surrounded herself with beautiful people,”” Dorreen said. “”I was fortunate to know some of them, and I’m glad I’m meeting the ones. I’m very grateful to all of them.””

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