Tillman scholar says opportunity has been more than financial support; it’s a family

Martinez says this has been more than financial support; it’s a family.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 9:48 AM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Spend a few minutes with Luis Martinez Jr., and there is no doubt he is right where he should be.

“My goal is to improve geospatial capabilities from the military and intelligence community and hopefully go back and work for them and continue to support the warfighter,” said Martinez.

He is a 2020 Tillman Scholar, which means a great deal to him.

“I think a lot of people think of when they apply to a scholarship fund just getting some money and that’s it’s turned into a family and I would give back every penny they’ve given me with interest, just you know, for the ability to carry on Pat’s legacy,” he told us.

Luis ultimately wants to design maps that assist the men and women on the front line to help get their jobs done and to come home safely.

“My research involves mapping GPS-denied environments. Specifically, tunnels, caves, underground facilities, and supporting military operations,” he explained.

In addition to the financial support from the scholarship funded by the Tillman Foundation, Luis is impressed with what Pat stood for – and Pat’s drive.

“Pat was someone who was looking to do something bigger than himself. He stuck to what he felt was right. And I admire that, especially in today’s world when there’s a lot of people telling you, Hey, do this or that. But if you stick to what’s right, it takes a lot of courage.”

And courage, he admits, might be needed to apply to be added to the scholar list, but he had doubts.

“I had that same hesitation. You know your story. You may not think it’s important, which is something we look for humble leadership but humble people. So write about yourself, share your story. You never know. You may become a Tillman scholar. "

Another rewarding part of being a scholar? People congratulated him and fellow scholars as they participated in Pat’s Run. He says crowd members shake their hands and share their stories. But, to Luis—that is the best part—learning about everyone who comes together to honor Pat.