This was the second time I was able to sit down with Luis Martinez. The first time, we met to talk about veteran services.

This time was about his achievements, his work in the community and the generous donation that will help his family save energy and money.

“Thanks for being my dad, but also a mom when I needed one the most.”

He is a single father, oftentimes playing the role of Mom and Dad.

Martinez, a 15-year veteran, has seen his share of battlefields.

“February 12 is when the IED happened.”

He and his unit caught the blast of an improvised explosive device, or IED, leaving him severely injured.

“It caused my spine to be like an accordion. It expanded and it slammed back together,” Martinez said.

Injuries and all, he decided to keep pushing forward, enrolling at Angelo State University and interning at the West Texas Counseling and Guidance Center – all while catching the attention of Solar CenTex.

“I spent 25 years in the Army and one of the ways I want to see give back was to give solar to a veteran that could use help with their electric bills,” Scot Arey, owner of Solar CenTex said.

The energy company donated 24 solar panels, valued at $15,000, to the Martinez family.

“With teenagers in the house, it’s kind-of like they think electricity is free,” Martinez said.

“This was a great way to show appreciation and ‘thank you,’ and I was more than happy to do it,” Arey said.

Martinez says he’ll continue his education in a Master’s program at the University of Texas in Arlington. He will also continue his work helping get veterans the help and services they deserve.