Family Turns Grieving into Giving To Honor Slain Mother

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It’s been five years since Annette Martinez, 35, was taken from her family by the hands of a murderer.

On her fifth anniversary, instead of mourning her death, Martinez’s family is doing something positive to keep her legacy alive.

The family is donating toys to the YWCA in Pueblo. They say Annette was a giving person and this is the best way to remember her.

"We always had a good time with her," said Justin Milberger, Annette’s son.

"She gave back to everybody that she met," said Ramona Bellegante. "I know that she would never want anything to be held against anybody, she'd want something positive to be brought from it."

Bellegante said she knew this was the year she had to give back. "I learned a lot from her," she said.

Annette was a volunteer umpire and a coach of many sports. It was in December 2005 that Annette was stabbed to death inside a 7-11 store in Pueblo. She was picking up an extra shift, trying to make extra money to buy her kids as many Christmas presents as she could.

"The boys were her life," said Patricia Hijar-Converse, Annette’s mom.

Her family says she was the most giving person they'd ever met. "We need to heal, so that we can all go on,” said Hijar-Converse. “And help the kids, and help the community."

"I'm just glad that I could, not only do something to help other people out, but I could do it in memory of such a wonderful person," Bellegante said. "We'll never forget her, because she was so great."

While the family admits they don't like talking about what happened to Annette, they say they're helping the community as a way to turn the grieving into giving.

The donations won't be distributed until Monday, so that everyone at the YWCA can participate.