Sergeant Belarmino Martinez
Troop H - Tallahassee
Congratulations to Sgt. Belarmino Martinez for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2007 for saving the lives of two elderly women from possible drowning in the Pacific Ocean.
While honeymooning in Panama, Sergeant Martinez was swimming in the rough Pacific Ocean where the undertow and riptides were extremely fierce, when he observed two elderly females sitting in the water close to the shoreline with their teenage granddaughter. A lifeguard had twice warned the females earlier to stay out of the water and close to shore as they could not swim, but they did not heed this advice.
Suddenly, Sergeant Martinez observed one of the women being dragged further into the ocean and rolling head-over-heels. Without hesitating, he quickly swam towards her, grabbed her, and pulled her approximately fifty yards to safety on the shore. As he was doing so, he saw the granddaughter struggling to try to hold onto the other elderly woman who was being pulled further out into the ocean. He quickly swam back to her and pulled her to shore while the granddaughter tumbled her way to safety. The lifeguard, who had been standing on the shore with other bystanders and did not enter the water, then checked on the women's well-being as they were coughing and having difficulty breathing due to swallowing so much saltwater. After ensuring their safety, the lifeguard instructed the women not to enter the water again.
If not for Sergeant Martinez's fearless, quick reaction and lack of hesitation, the elderly women could have been swept out into the ocean and drowned, especially since the lifeguard did not once enter the water to assist with the lifesaving efforts.