A North County man who died and donated his organs to those in need will be honored in the Rose Parade in January.
Everardo Martinez was a husband and father to Alexander, 9, Arianna, 7, and Anthony, 6. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, he spent 20 years as head chef at Lourdes Mexican Food Restaurant in Escondido.
Martinez suffered a fatal aneurysm in the spring of 2016. As a registered organ donor, he saved the lives of 3 people when five of his organs were transplanted, including his heart.
His wife created a floral portrait of him that will be carried down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on January 1.
"Our family is truly honored and were comforted by the organ donation," said Adriana Martinez, wife of Everardo. "That their lives were transformed and just to know how grateful they are for this gift of life,"
Through the organization Lifesharing, the Donate Life float will feature musical instruments and decorations from Everardo's family.
"My husband was a loving, caring, kind and generous man," added Adriana. "I'm here to advocate becoming an organ donor. It gives families more time with each other, which is so important."
San Diego typically has about 100 organ donors per year, but there are more than 2,000 people here who need an organ, according to Donate Life.
Latinos are the single largest group on the local waiting list, at 40 percent in San Diego and Imperial Counties, Donate Life added.