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Danny Martin, well-known member of Whittier community, dies in traffic collision

WHITTIER – A candlelight vigil will be held at 6 p.m. tonight for Danny Martin, a well-known character in the Whittier community who died in a traffic collision this morning.

 

Martin, 60, was riding a bicycle when the collision occurred at around 6:30 a.m. on Whittier Boulevard near Jordan Road.

 

The vigil will take place at the crash site, followed by a remembrance ceremony at Orchard’s BBQ.

 

Martin was a fixture in Whittier, riding around town on a tricycle adorned with an American flag and handmade signs praising Jesus Christ.

 

Everyone who crossed paths with Martin was guaranteed a wave and hello.

 

“He was a person who was extremely loyal and took an interest in other people. He was also a very helpful person,” said Mayor Joe Vinatieri. “Notwithstanding his disability, he was able to impact people in a way that only a guy in his situation, a guy by the name of Danny, could do. This is a big loss for us.”

 

Troy Silva, owner of Orchard’s BBQ, said he met Martin while preparing to open his restaurant about 15 years ago. Martin never left.

 

“He just became part of the crew in the Orchard’s family,” Silva said.

 

A motorcycle collision nearly killed Martin in 1981. Although he survived the crash, Martin was left permanently disfigured and partially paralyzed.

 

“The only reason he was still here was because of God,” Silva said. “He wanted to repay it any way he could and his way was to go out and spread love and try to make people happy. That’s what he lived for.”

 

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Another friend, Dr. Ramsey Ezaki, said Martin would wave to him and his young boys as they drove around town. When Ezaki opened his Whittier dental practice, he sought out Martin to thank him for his kindness, sparking a friendship.

 

“You didn’t have to know him but he would just wave,” Dr. Ezaki said. “He was almost like the official greeter of Whittier.”

 

Due to his disability, Martin often fell while riding his bicycle. When he was hurt, he often skipped the emergency room and instead went to Dr. Ezaki’s dental office, where staff helped patch him up. Dr. Ezaki also provided Martin’s dental care at no cost.

 

 To honor his memory, Dr. Ezaki suggested residents do an act of kindness without recognition.

 

“I think Danny would like people to do something for someone without expecting anything in return,” Dr. Ezaki said. “Do it in memory of Danny. If people did that, this world would be a better place.”

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