Post office renamed in honor of fallen Marine, 'true Elginite' Alex Martinez

Post office renamed in honor of fallen Marine, 'true Elginite' Alex Martinez

  • Julianna Martinez, center, checks out a commemorative copy of the plaque unveiled Tuesday renaming the Elgin post office in honor of her late husband, Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, an Elgin native who died in combat in Afghanistan. With her are U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, left, her family members, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain and state Rep. Anna Moeller.

      Julianna Martinez, center, checks out a commemorative copy of the plaque unveiled Tuesday renaming the Elgin post office in honor of her late husband, Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, an Elgin native who died in combat in Afghanistan. With her are U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, left, her family members, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain and state Rep. Anna Moeller. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks during a ceremony Tuesday to rename the Elgin post office in honor of Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, an Elgin native who died in combat in Afghanistan.

      Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks during a ceremony Tuesday to rename the Elgin post office in honor of Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, an Elgin native who died in combat in Afghanistan. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/14/2020 9:34 AM

The downtown Elgin post office has a new name -- a name honoring "a true Elginite."

A plaque commemorating the newly named Corporal Alex Martinez Memorial Post Office Building at 66 Grove Ct. was unveiled Tuesday after a ceremony led by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who wrote the bill to have the post office renamed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Julianna Martinez and other family members in attendance watch as U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks during a ceremony Tuesday to rename the Elgin post office in honor of her late husband, Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2012.
  Julianna Martinez and other family members in attendance watch as U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks during a ceremony Tuesday to rename the Elgin post office in honor of her late husband, Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2012. - Rick West | Staff Photographer

"Corporal Martinez was a brilliant star in the fabric of our lives, and his light will continue to shine brightly in our hearts and in our minds for years to come," Krishnamoorthi said.

He called the renaming "one of the highest honors that I could possibly be a part of as the congressman for this area."

Martinez was the first serviceman from Elgin to die in combat operations since the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Schaumburg, spoke at length about the lifelong Elgin resident's accomplishments and dedication to service. Fighting back tears, Krishnamoorthi concluded by addressing Martinez's widow, Julianna.

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Julianna Martinez receives a framed copy of the congressional act written by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi renaming the Elgin post office in honor of her late husband, Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, after a ceremony in Elgin Tuesday.
  Julianna Martinez receives a framed copy of the congressional act written by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi renaming the Elgin post office in honor of her late husband, Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, after a ceremony in Elgin Tuesday. - Rick West | Staff Photographer

"We could never repay his sacrifice, but by naming this post office in his honor, we will always remember him as a hero, to not only this community and state, but to our country."

Martinez was 21 when he died April 5, 2012, during combat operations in the Helmand province in Afghanistan. His funeral was attended by more than 400 people, including then-Gov. Pat Quinn.

Martinez was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineering Battalion and was killed by a roadside bomb. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart medal and a Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal with combat "V" for valor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Alex Martinez
Alex Martinez

After Tuesday's ceremony in the parking lot, a few family members and officials headed inside the post office to see the official plaque, mounted inside the entrance.

"It means Alex's name is never going to be forgotten," Julianna Martinez said. "He was a true Elginite."

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