Pixley Residents Honored a Fallen Soldier

February 20, 2008 27 year old Sgt. Timothy Martin was buried here behind me at the Tulare District Cemetery.

His death marks the first person from Pixley to have died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Timothy Martin's mother stood by as she watched her son's casket taken into St. Anne's Catholic Church in Porterville.

His family says martin's death has hit the small communities of Pixley and Tipton hard.

Elaine Ribiero, Family Member: "He has a really big family a lot of support. He comes from a small town so everybody knows everybody there and they're like family even if they're not."

After a Catholic Mass, children from Martin's Alma Mater, Saint Anne's School held a sign outside the church reading "you are our hero, Timothy Martin." more than 200 students from the school lined the streets with American flags and held up signs to show their appreciation for his service.

Clayton Congdon, St. Anne's School: "He served our country so we just want to say Thank You."

Mario Aguilar, St. Anne's School: "God Bless Tim Martin because he served our country and died for us and I'm thankful for that."

The signs were an emotional surprise for Timothy Martin's family and friends.

Ribeiro: "Just leaving the church today and seeing the children at St Anne's line the sidewalk and the streets with American flags and banners of him as their hero it just fills your heart with pride."

Pride is what Ribeiro says his family is feeling the most.

She says Martin was an ambitious and positive person who always strived to do the right thing.

She says right now, his family is just trying to stay as positive as their son was.

Ribeiro: "I'm sure they hope that, in the end, something very good comes out of this war. I think we all feel that way."

The soldier's death marks the family's second loss. Martin's sister died of leukemia 18 years ago.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.