Correctional Sgt. Robert Motta, left, became the legal guardian of Kevin Martinez. Now Martinez is a private in the U.S. Army. Photo courtesy of Robert Motta.

Correctional Sgt. Robert Motta, left, became the legal guardian of Kevin Martinez. Now Martinez is a private in the U.S. Army. Photo courtesy of Robert Motta.

By Lt. Kirk Geringer, A.A., Public Information Officer, Pleasant Valley State Prison

A senior in high school, Kevin Martinez was failing many of his classes and not on track to graduate.

Coming from a disadvantaged childhood and looking to run away, Martinez was in need of help.

This is when Pleasant Valley State Prison Correctional Sgt. Robert “Robbie” Motta and his family decided to take Martinez into their home.

Ultimately, Motta became the young man’s legal guardian.

The sergeant sat down with Martinez to create a plan to get back on track. They met with the school’s principal, counselor and teachers, who all assisted in the plan. Through hard work, perseverance and assistance from the Motta family, Martinez was able to graduate with his class.

After graduating, Martinez dove right in to the local college but struggled with his classes.

Concerned for his future, Motta told the young man about the possibilities found in the military.

Martinez decided to enlist in the U.S. Army but was met with another hurdle, his weight.

As an instructor of many disciplines within CDCR and personally, Motta created a solid diet and exercise program which allowed Martinez to lose more than 60 pounds, making him eligible to join the Army.

Martinez completed basic training and is on his way to a bright future.

“My wife and I love Kevin as if he was our flesh and blood. We are extremely proud of his achievements and, most of all, him,” Motta said.