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KRQE chopper pilot memorialized with new plaque

Eddie Garcia
October 12, 2017 06:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Bob Martin, one of New Mexico's most beloved newsmen passed away Sept. 16. He was best known for his work in the KRQE news helicopter and the passionate stories he delivered along the way.

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Martin was honored Thursday at one of his favorite places: Balloon Fiesta Park. A memorial will soon go up to recognize Martin. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta wasn't just any event for Martin and his wife Marilyn Painter.

"This was our favorite time of year," she said. "You know it's the best time in New Mexico. The weather is gorgeous. We both loved it."

That's why it's only fitting that Martin will get a permanent memorial, honoring his passion for the event and for New Mexico. It will be installed on the main walkway at Balloon Fiesta Park.

City officials said they expect Bob Martin's memorial to be complete in time for next year's Balloon Fiesta. Mayor Richard Berry says it's the least the city can do.

"He loved our place and he promoted our place and he let our place shine, so it's our turn to say thank you," Berry said.

Painter said it's an honor

"I'm really grateful to the mayor and Balloon Fiesta for making this happen," she said.

As time goes on, Berry said he hopes the marker will spur future visitors to learn about Martin's legacy.

"What we're hoping is this plaque will be on the ground and people that have never been to Albuquerque before will walk through and say, 'I wonder who Bob Martin is,'" Berry said. "And we hope they just look up and see the beautiful balloons and we think Bob would smile on that."

Painter said her husband would be pleased, if not a little embarrassed.

"You know he was such a humble guy, I think he would be so surprised to know how many people thought so highly of him," said Painter.

Credits

Eddie Garcia

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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