Pima County Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay honored by family, friends, and the Tucson community

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson hero remembered. Thursday, hundreds gathered at the St. Augustine Cathedral to honor Pima County Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay.

Martinez-Garibay was killed in the line of duty while serving an eviction notice. One week later, family members, friends, law enforcement, and community members came together for her funeral.

The cathedral was absolutely packed for the service. It was just further evidence of her legacy, how many lives Deborah Martinez-Garibay touched, and how much she will be missed by the Tucson community.

“She was the life of the party at every party and she loved big,” cousin Andrea Fraze said.

Veteran, Gordon Grant said, ″Just a tremendous person, always thinking of others and looking toward helping others in so many different ways.”

Selfless, full of energy, driven, and wonder woman are just a few of the ways loved ones described Debora Martinez-Garibay. She enlisted in the army right after 9/11 and served 16 years. After being injured in Afghanistan she came back to Tucson and served her fellow veterans through several programs.

“I wonder who’s going to take over and work in these programs the way she did and keep things going and it’s going to be hard,” Grant said.

From serving in the army to serving as a Pima County Constable, she’ll be remembered for her compassion.

″She saw the need. She had the desire and the skills to succeed. It’s that gut feeling that you have when you know what it takes. It takes a special human being to help others face life’s challenges. Deborah was that person,” said Richard Gastellum, a family friend.

Martinez-Garibay’s cousins said how touched she was to see the cathedral so full.

″It was beautiful. I sat there and I thought every person in this place has a story, remember when Deborah, you know? everyone has one. she was so big to everybody. she was always a phone call away no matter what you needed,” Fraze said.

And on Thursday, when so many came to remember Martinez-Garibay, there’s a call for change.

″Mental health needs to be taken seriously in our nation and safety. there should be more than one all the time. people need to be safe because I don’t want anyone else’s family to have to go through this,” Fraze said.

One thing that was brought up during the service was Martinez-Garibay’s sacrifice in the line of duty. The hope is that her sacrifice will not be in vain and things will change to make constables safer on the job.