LeeLee Martinez, right, gets a hug from Valarie Bagnashi at the Restoration City Church in Fairfield, Sunday. Martinez recently joined the Marines and will leave in a week to begin recruit training. (Daily Republic-Adam Smith)


Teen gets special blessings as she prepares for military life

By From page A3 | December 31, 2012

FAIRFIELD — Leelee Martinez begins a new chapter in her life on Jan. 6

The 18-year-old Concord resident has joined the United States Marines Corps and heads off for boot camp that day.

On Sunday, she received cards, hugs, well wishes and even drawings from members of Restoration City Church in Fairfield.  At the end of their worship service, she was called up before the congregation for special blessings. Her mother Roberta Martinez, looked on, wiping tears from her eyes.

“She’s not in the Marines, she’s in the army of the Lord,” said Randy Lema, the church’s associate pastor.

 “I wanted to do something with my life,” the younger Martinez said of her reason for joining the military. College wasn’t in her plans, so the military seemed the logical choice.  “I think it was my only option,” she said.

She hopes to become a pilot.

Leelee Martinez  spent the past six months getting ready for military service, with twice weekly workouts that included pushups, pullups, running and crunches.

Guests feasted on Mexican fare and seated atop a camouflage cloth. A cake, also done in green camouflage was served.

Many posed for pictures with Martinez.

Martinez and her mom got involved with the church about six years ago.  They currently live with Neva Lema, the church’s pastor.

Roberta Martinez said the support of the church has been important to her and her daughter.

“This is the root core of the foundation of our family,” she said.

“She’s like my granddaughter,” Neva Lema said of the teen. “She has a pure heart. She’s totally grounded and very intelligent.”

Lema said she will miss having the teen around, noting that she would have to start doing some things for herself that Leelee had been helping with.

Leelee Martinez is just anxious to see what the future hold for her.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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