Congress passes bill to rename Elgin post office after fallen Marine

Congress has passed legislation to honorarily rename a U.S. post office in Elgin after Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, the only military person from the city to die in combat since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A bill to rename the downtown post office was filed in March by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg Democrat. The measure will go to President Donald Trump for his signature after unanimously passing the House in July and the Senate on Friday.

"I'm grateful to see the Senate has unanimously approved my legislation to honor and recognize Cpl. Alex Martinez, his loved ones and the millions of service members who risk all they have to defend our country," Krishnamoorthi said in a news release.

Martinez was killed April 5, 2012, by a roadside bomb during combat operations in Afghanistan. He was 21 years old.

Military documents shared by his family show that Martinez was involved in more than 16 combat patrols and cleared more than 80 kilometers of passage lanes for marines. His awards include a Purple Heart medal and a Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal with combat "V" for valor.

In August, the city of Elgin unveiled an honorary street sign naming the 200 block of Melrose Avenue where he grew up "Cpl. Alex Martinez Av" - a gesture his mother, Socorro Bethke, said she had hoped for since her son's death. The initiative was spearheaded by Elgin resident and Marine veteran Anthony Ortiz, who attended Larkin High School with Martinez.

Martinez came to Krishnamoorthi's attention while the congressman was looking into Elgin veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his communications director said. His office then got permission from Martinez's widow, Julianna Martinez, to move forward with renaming the post office.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who wrote a letter of support, welcomed the passage.

"Cpl. Martinez and all of our men and women in uniform make extraordinary sacrifices in defense of democracy," he said in a news release. "We're one step closer to honoring Cpl. Martinez's memory."

  Congress has supported a bill to rename the Elgin post office after Alex Martinez, a Marine who died in 2012 conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. The legislation was introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi. Rick West/
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