• March 1, 2021

Mother, son bring a bit of Arizona sunshine - Odessa American: Local News

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Mother, son bring a bit of Arizona sunshine

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  • DOING GOOD DEEDS

    Collin Camp and his mother Marnel Martinez stand for a portrait after unloading groceries to be distribute to West Texans in the Permian Basin Tuesday at Odessa Christmas In Action.

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Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 6:23 pm

Tucson, Ariz. residents Marnel Martinez and her 19-year-old son Collin Camp hatched a plan to try and help out as many people as possible in Texas following last week’s deadly storm.

It was Thursday night and Martinez, who works as a realtor, had just gotten home from work.

Martinez and her son had both been bothered by the news of people struggling in the Lone Star State but they soon came up with the idea to go and help out.

“We’ve always had this funny fascination with Texas,” Martinez said. “We always joke that we can mesh well with Texans. I said, ‘well, we could raise as much money as we can and buy as much as we can and then drive down there on Sunday.’”

Soon enough, the mother-son-duo found themselves in Odessa delivering supplies needed for home repairs to elderly, low-income people affected by last week’s storm.

As Martinez and Camp heard of the needs and ongoing relief efforts in Texas, they started to call the non-profits in larger cities such as Austin and Dallas.

“They told us that the larger towns were going to get the most resources and that it was alright if we wanted to go to smaller towns since they need it,” Martinez said.

So they looked at the map and after making calculations, Odessa and Midland came up as the destination.

Martinez reached out to the Odessa Chamber of Commerce late Friday afternoon to share the story and asked was needed for the area.

“We didn’t want to go too far in case there was another freeze,” Camp said. “We looked around. We asked the Chamber of Commerce who they would suggest and know who will put all the money and supplies and give it to the people who would need it. The rest was just packing and driving.”

The Odessa Chamber of Commerce was able to connect Martinez and Camp with executive director of the Odessa Christmas in Action Barbara Nunez so that they could help with home repairs and supply distribution.

Christmas in Action is a nonprofit agency that, in partnership with the community, repairs homes of low-income elderly and/or disabled homeowners.

Over the weekend, Camp and Martinez began collecting cash, donations and supplies. They have raised approximately $5,000.

By Sunday, they had loaded up a U-Haul full of items and began the trip to West Texas.

“It was amazing,” Martinez said. “It all came together by the end of the day on Friday. I got up at 3 a.m. Saturday morning and worked until 10 p.m. to shop all day long. We loaded everything. Sunday morning, we realized that we had raised even more money. We had spent a lot at Home Depot so we started spending more at the ACE hardware in Wilcox, Ariz. and they just loaded us up.”

Camp said there weren’t many goals that he and his mother had set before coming out to Odessa, other than to do as much as they could.

“When we were driving here, we saw that we had gained more money and we stopped at other places to load up the truck and kept going,” Camp said.

Camp currently works in handyman services in Tucson.

“At 14 years old, I started working in tile and made good money for a 14-year old kid,” Camp said.

A few years later, Camp started working for a home and remodeling company before noticing that he was having back pains.

After going to the doctor, he learned that he had scoliosis.

“I decided to make a career change with a lighter path,” Camp said.

Camp is not a plumber but he says the work that he’s done in handyman services helped him to know what kind of supplies to buy over the weekend.

“It certainly helped me out with what to get like sealant and things to fix copper pipes and all that stuff,” Camp said.

Martinez and Camp have been helping Christmas in Action clients to rebuild and repair.

“What’s really needed here is plumbers,” Martinez said. “Basically, any maintenance or handy men or anyone who knows anything about plumbing. We brought the supplies but what they really need are the plumbers who can do the work for the elderly and low-income people.”

Nunez has been thankful for the help from Martinez and Camp.

“It’s amazing,” Nunez said. “We need help.”

Nunez, who’s been here for 14 years, says she has never seen this amount of devastation of pipes, roofs and windows.

“Our community was devastated by this ice and snow storm,” Nunez said. “It’s not just the people that we serve, it’s the entire community. We have to have materials. So the cool thing is that we’re able to help them get food, plumbing materials and we’re able to help them get the things that are needed to be fixed so they can go on with their lives.”

Martinez and Camp arrived in Odessa on Monday and spent all of Tuesday delivering the food and supplies to those that needed it.

“We have a list of the homes that need the supplies,” Martinez said. “We’re hoping that from the media attention that plumbers can help step up and contact Barbara and she’ll connect them with the people that need it. The goal is to have the house ready to go.”

Camp says the past few days have been awesome and that it’s been a good feeling to help out as many people as possible before they leave back for Arizona on Wednesday.

“It feels great,” Camp said. “It’s great how nice everyone here has been to us. I’m very happy to able to help out.”

Martinez echoed those thoughts.

“I just think it’s been an awesome experience to help out my son,” Martinez said. “I’m so impressed with him and so proud. It’s been really heartwarming to see the community. Also, there’s so much anger and negativity in the world. For him to see how many people will step up in our community is great.”

Odessa, TX

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