By Ed Diokno
A Filipina American was the third American to die in last week’s Brussels attacks. Gail Minglana Martinez was traveling with her husband and four children when the blast claimed her life. It’s not yet known where in Brussels the family was when they were injured because there were two blasts.
Suicide bombers killed 32 people at Brussels’ airport and in a subway station near the European Union headquarters. Dozens of people remain hospitalized.Her husband, Lt. Col. Kato Martinez, remains in the Intensive Care Unit and her four young children are being treated for burns in a Brussels hospital.
Gail Minglana Martinez grew up in Corpus Christi, a city on the Gulf of Mexico southwest of Houston. She graduated from a local high school in 1992, the Associated Press reports. She was the daughter of a retired U.S. sailor who immigrated from the Philippines.
Kato Martinez serves as a U.S. Military Assistant to the Commander-Allied Joint Force Command for NATO in Brunssum, the Netherlands.
Lt. Col Martinez was previously stationed in Guam where his sister and friends gathered for a Mass to pray for his well-being and for his children.
From Corpus Christi, Gail Martinez’ brother issued a statement Tuesday, saying: “Gail was special to so many people. She blessed people’s lives and made this world a better place.”
“She was a fireball,” David Hiser, who was Martinez’s choir teacher in middle and high schools, told the AP. “Huge laugh. I just remember her personality and what an amazing kid she was.”
After graduation, she and her husband moved around the world with their children, according to their online social media postings and Kato Martinez’s LinkedIn page.
Gail Martinez’s family said in a statement Tuesday that family members had spoken to Kato Martinez, but declined to comment on what they had been told about the family’s condition.
Two other Americans died earlier because of the terrorist attacks: Justin and Stephanie Shults, who moved to Brussels after being assigned by their companies.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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