Julio Martinez is a soft-spoken young man who doesn’t like to call attention to himself, but when the Huntington High School Class of 2022 member lines up for a race, he’s all business and an incredible competitor.
The teenager has won county and state championships and captured All-American honors with the Blue Devil indoor and outdoor track and field teams. Mr. Martinez plans to attend the University at Albany where he was recruited to run on the NCAA Division I track team. He is interested in possibly studying for a career as a teacher.
The Nassau Police Running Club presented a $500 scholarship to Mr. Martinez in honor of fallen Nassau Police Officer Luis A. Palermo, Jr. who passed away in September 2017 from a 9/11 related illness. He was 49 years old.
A 23-year Nassau Police veteran, Mr. Palermo raced to Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to assist with search and rescue efforts. Like so many others involved in similar work, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and passed away from acute lung disease in September 2017. Prior to his death, the Nassau Police Department promoted him to its elite Bureau of Special Operations.
Mr. Palermo and his wife, Deborah, sent all three of their children through the Huntington School District. Celine graduated with Huntington’s Class of 2017. Caitlyn graduated in 2020. Caleb will be entering ninth grade in the fall.
The Nassau Police Running Club hosts the Police Officer Memorial Run every year to honor its fallen officers. The proceeds from the run go to scholarships at a high school from where the respective fallen member graduated or a high school that the family selects. The Palermo family has selected to have the scholarship in Police Officer Palermo’s name presented to a student from Huntington High School.
A committee of Huntington High School faculty members selected Mr. Martinez for this year’s award. It was formally presented by Coordinator of Physical Education & Athletics Michael Marinello during the senior academic awards night ceremony.
Officer Palermo placed a premium on hard work and there is little doubt that he would have had nothing but respect for Mr. Martinez considering her impressive work ethic and spectacular accomplishments.