Reporting Marissa Bailey
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ELGIN, Ill. (CBS) – The funeral for an Elgin Marine killed in Afghanistan will be held this weekend.
Alex Martinez, 21, died last week in the Helmand Province. His visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Laird Funeral Home in Elgin. The fallen Marine’s funeral will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Life Changers Church in Hoffman Estates.
Martinez knew from an early age what he wanted to do, his high-school sweetheart and wife, Juliana, told reporters Thursday. He graduated early, joined the Marines and got married, she says.
“He wanted to start a family, just starting to plan for a family and everything when he came back, and (he was) thinking about joining the fire department,” she said Thursday.
Alex and Juliana were married just four years when she got the call that he was killed in combat operations. It’s still unclear exactly how he died.
Juliana now wears Alex’s wedding ring around her neck — a ring he left behind before leaving for what was his final mission.
“He’s like, ‘Just hold on to it, just so I don’t mess it up or scratch it more,’ and so I kept it. I’m glad I kept it cause it probably would have been lost,” she said.
And now a ring once worn by her husband will hang close to her heart – a heart she says is filled with memories of a life cut short.
“He was just so kind, loving,” Juliana says. “Everybody loved him he came in contact with.”