A Brownsville teen isn’t letting his disability hold him back. 

Ivan Martinez is a 13-year-old at Faulk Middle School. At school, he plays football, soccer and even weightlifts, all with one arm. 

It’s that attitude of never giving up, that impacts all those around. 

“He’s motivated. He gets our kids going. He’s been an inspiration to our program,” said Jose Lucio, Athletic Coordinator at Faulk Middle School. 

“He gave everybody a purpose to come to the weight room because he was such a hard worker,” said Charlie Atkinson, a former coach at Faulk Middle School. 

From that moment, Atkinson knew that Ivan was passionate.  

“I saw his disability but he never showed it when we started working out,” said Atkinson. “We taught the kids how to lift weights in 6th grade. He was the first one here. Last one out.”

He wanted to help Ivan beyond just teaching him how to lift. Atkinson wanted to get him a prosthetic arm, so he turned to Facebook, posting videos of Ivan’s in hopes that someone could help.

That’s where Yessica Serrata, a complete stranger, stepped in. She spent months looking for a company to provide Ivan an arm, at a price that they could afford. Finally, she found Hanger Clinic in Edinburg. They agreed to build the arm at a cost of $5,000. 

Atkinson turned to Facebook again, to help Ivan’s family pay for the arm. That’s when Ivan’s teammate, Miguel Govea, stepped in.

“I started the GoFundMe, because I knew I wanted to help him,” Govea said. “There’s a lot of kids here and he’s the only one without an arm. Seeing him do all that stuff just pumps us up.”

Within a matter of days, the community helped them reach their goal. The next step is giving the arm to Ivan, which they hope to do by Christmas. 

We reached out to Hanger Clinic about the discount they provided. They responded with this statement: 

The Edinburg-based Hanger Clinic team is grateful to be collaborating with Faulk Middle School to make Ivan Martinez his first prosthetic arm. Certified prosthetist and Clinic Manager Edward Gaitan will be donating his time and clinical expertise to design, build, and fit Ivan’s custom prosthesis. We’re excited to see this tool help Ivan achieve his goals, and glad for the opportunity to work with the surrounding community to help Ivan’s wish become a reality.

If you have someone you would like to highlight for their acts of kindness in our ‘Hometown Heroes’ segment, email Nicole Hickl at nhickl@sbgtv.com or contact her through Facebook.