Every step taken today is in his memory.
"We’re going to make a right," said the race official. "At the first stop sign."
The kids here weren’t around when Saul Martinez was alive but they know who he is. Their elementary school is named after him. The community has continued to rally around his legacy for 20 years.
"It’s unbelievable to see the support and the crowd of people today…in honor of Saul," said Donald Augilar, who drove from Ventura County to take part in the 5k walk today.
20 years ago this week, Martinez and his police partner, Donavan Rice, were responding to a parked car on the side of the road in Palm Springs. That’s when an oncoming car traveled off the roadway heading towards the two.
"Saul was to my left, I was to his right,he pushes me back," said Rice. "The driver actually ran over Saul and pinned Saul underneath the car."
Martinez never regained consciousness and died eight days later at the hospital. He was a 7-year member of the California Highway Patrol and served his community faithfully. He also saved a life.
"There’s not a day that goes by that i don’t get up in the morning and say thank you lord for being here," said Rice.
Since the fatal accident, Rice has been heavily involved with the Martinez family. He says they’ve taken him in as one of their own. Today, they all gathered together once again…like they did with birthdays, graduations and holidays, to celebrate Saul’s life.
While many walked and a few ran, everyone was there to finish the race they wish Martinez could’ve ran and finished himself.
Today, he ran while most walked, but everyone was there to finish the race.
"It means something the Saul Martinez legacy," said a runner and family friend.