“Giving back on Duhawk Day allowed me to be part of the day as one of the 1,450 donors and the opportunity to make an impact on current students,” Martin said. Martin is a California native and owner of Z Martial Arts Training Academy, located in Castro Valley, California. He lives in the East Bay bedroom community of 60,000 people with his wife, Alma, and their daughters: Stevie Joyce, 11; and Leanza, 9.
Originally from San Francisco, Martin was recruited to Loras by then-wrestling coach Randy Steward. When asked to describe his wrestling career, Martin joked: “I made the most of it, but I had lots of injuries.”
He overcame those injuries to become an All-American wrestler for the Duhawks. As a senior, he placed second at 133 pounds at the NCAA Division III Championships. By then, he had already fallen in love with Loras.
“Loras is a great school and continues to excel in so many areas nationally,” he said. “Duhawk Day is a day for all Duhawks to come together and support Loras.”
Martin said making a gift on Duhawk Day was a way he could help make the Loras experience better for current and future students. He was among the 1,895 Duhawks who gave last year, smashing the goal of 1,450 donors for the annual day of giving. The goal for this year is to reach 1,839 donors in recognition of Loras’s founding year. Martin plans to be one of the 1,839.
“Supporting Loras was something I felt like I needed to do,” he said. “I’d encourage everyone to give this year. I made my first gift on Duhawk Day, and plan to give back each year and every year moving forward because I want current and future Duhawks to have the same great experience I had when I went to Loras.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree, Martin completed a year as a graduate student in physical education and then moved on to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a member of the Judo Team. He then served 11 years with the police department in San Mateo, California, where he was part of a K-9 unit. He retired in 2017 after being injured during an arrest.
“Loras and Dubuque changed my life,” Martin said. “It’s why I live where we live. Castro Valley is about the same size as Dubuque. I wouldn’t want to live in a big city anymore. Dubuque will always be my “home away from home.”
Next month, he hopes to make it back to campus while attending the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “I’d love to get back on campus to see it again,” he said.
DUHAWK DAY AT A GLANCE!
Thousands of alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends from 44 states have supported Loras College on Duhawk Day, which will be held this year on March 11. Donations also have come from Colombia and Tanzania in the annual 24-hour day of giving. There have been Duhawk Day events in 39 cities over the past six years:
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Forest City, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
North Liberty, Iowa
Rock Island, Ill.
Orange County, Calif.
San Diego, Calif.
St. Louis, Mo.
St. Paul, Minn.