In an emotional farewell, students from California lined walkways to say goodbye to beloved school resource officer Conrado Martin.
Martin spent the last three years working as a student neighborhood resource officer at Cooper Academy in Fresno, California.
It was a job Martin admitted he wasn’t quite comfortable taking at first. He already had five children of his own — how could he possibly enter into the lives of over 600 more in any sort of meaningful way?
But Martin took a leap of faith, believing that God called him to the position.
“When we’re uncomfortable about doing something, and somebody knows your specialty, sometimes you gotta believe in what the man upstairs is calling you to do,” Martin said in a video interview with the Fresno Unified School District, posted on Twitter.
“Even if it doesn’t seem right — feel right, you gotta believe that He’s ordaining something better for you.”
And so Martin stepped into the role, and soon learned how desperately so many of the students needed a father figure in their lives. Many more simply needed to have some positive encounters with the police.
Believing he could make a difference, Martin was determined to lead his community of students well.
With his contagious smile and great attitude, he developed a fatherly approach that made a big difference for students. Thank you, Officer Martin, for all you do!#buildingfutures #SNRO #thankyou #students pic.twitter.com/B7UTYhqgoc
— Fresno Unified (@fresnounified) December 17, 2018
He stood outside the school each morning, greeting parents and students with a genuine smile and hello.
Martin started an “Officers Club,” for select boys at the school — mostly boys without dads at home — teaching them about integrity, honesty, respect, courtesy, responsibility, accountability and forgiveness.
At the end of the program, the boys took an oath pledging to follow the seven principles and received a certificate of graduation.
Martin added another Officers Club for girls, with participation rates soaring, KFSN-TV reported.
“He is everywhere — in the community, helping families, helping students on campus, making great connections with so many people,” said Cooper principal Sandra Auble.
“Our kids are asking for him on a daily basis and when he’s not here, students are disappointed.”
After three years of giving his all to Fresno schools, it was time for Martin to move on.
He has been promoted to sergeant with the Fresno Police Department, The Fresno Bee reported.
In a farewell ceremony, Principal Auble organized the middle school students to line the walkways, cheering and applauding for the officer who has made a lasting impression on their young lives.
The students have also made a lasting impression on Martin.
“This has been the pivotal point of my career,” Martin said. “And I wouldn’t change it one bit.”