Banquet planned to benefit law student injured last fall

Thursday event to raise money for Alan Martinez

Students of USC’s School of Law will host a fundraising banquet Thursday for Alan Martinez, a law student put in critical condition by a head-on collision last September.

On his way to a Saturday morning skydiving practice, Alan Martinez, 31, was struck head-on by an allegedly drunk driver traveling the wrong way down Interstate 77 near Blythewood.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury, as well as several broken bones in his back and leg, and he was in a coma for about three months, his younger brother and second-year law student Mike Martinez said.

Since then, Mike Martinez and several other law students have established the All in for Alan committee to raise funds for his recovery expenses.

“We decided this was something that impacted the entire law school family, and we knew we wanted to do something,” said Matt Abee, a third-year law student and the committee’s marketing chairman. “It’s really great to have a group of people that have a goal, especially when that goal is coming to the aid of someone in need. It’s really kind of awe-inspiring how it can pick up momentum.”

All in for Alan Benefit Banquet

7:30 p.m. Thursday at 701 Whaley St.

Tickets ($25 in advance and $30 at the door) are available online at AllinforAlan.com or in the law school lobby 12:40 – 1:40 p.m.

Updates on Martinez’s recovery are posted on the Facebook page “Keep My Brother Alan In Your Prayers.”

The committee has managed to raise funds by garnering support from local restaurants like Tin Roof and Jake’s Bar and Grill, which donated a percentage of their sales to the effort last week.

“It’s honestly inspiring that students have selflessly committed to this charity,” Mike Martinez said. “It would’ve been much more difficult without support.”

All proceeds from Thursday’s benefit, as well as any other donations, go directly to an irrevocable trust, set up by the All in for Alan committee, that helps pay for Alan Martinez’s medical and recovery expenses, Mike Martinez said.

Every element of the banquet — including the event space, catering and auction items — has been donated. The benefit will feature a silent auction, food and drinks from Breaker’s Bar and Grill and live musical entertainment from Dell Castillo, a local Southern rock musician.

“It really is unbelievable the way that so many different organizations and businesses have taken the family under their wings,” Abee said. “It’s a testament to the Columbia community.”

Alan Martinez underwent treatment in a few different hospitals following the accident, before being discharged and sent home earlier this year from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which specializes in brain injuries, Mike Martinez said.

Alan Martinez is currently living with his parents in his hometown of Naples, Fla., where he undergoes daily speech, physical and occupational therapy, his younger brother said.

“What I hear from my parents is that he’s making a lot of progress and consistently following commands (in therapy),” Mike Martinez said.

While Abee said the committee has seen no shortage of help for the Martinez family from fellow law school students, he encourages everyone who can to attend the banquet or otherwise donate online.

“We’ve still got a long road ahead in [Alan Martinez’s] recovery, and the family is really accepting of any help they can get over the coming months and years,” Abee said. “He’s continuing the fight — that’s his nature — and everybody’s really trying to fight with him.”


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