Remembering Desi

By Megan Trent

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November 12, 2010 Updated Nov 12, 2010 at 7:41 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It's with unfortunate regularity that we report on car accidents... and many times fatalities. It's less often that we are able to take a closer look at the people and communities affected by those losses. But today, we were able to do just that for 21 year old Desiare Martin.

She was the girl who lit up the room with her smile despite a challenging life. Her co-workers at Fort Wayne's Anthony Wayne Services, a special needs work facility and industrial resource center, couldn't say enough about the woman they had grown to know and love.

"To her friends, she was called Desi," says Anthony Wayne Services Program Coordinator, Joseph Blazier.

And friends were something Desi had lots of. Desiare Martin was born with spina bifida. In her 21 years, she underwent more than 30 surgeries and was still confined to a wheel chair.

"Desi smiled every day," recalls AWS Team Leader Joshua McDevitt-Spall.

"She had a never give up spirit. She had a hard life from very early in her life and she never used her disability as an excuse," says Blazier.

But on Tuesday, the van Desi was riding in was hit head on by 18 year old Trevor Bussen - neither survived. Today, friends and family gathered for Desi's memorial. Many were from Anthony Wayne Services.

"Always kind of wanted to know how your day was and asked about my daughter all the time. She was really just interested on a personal level with everybody. She was really sweet and she'll be missed," says McDevitt-Spall.

"We always talked about different things, like about work and my family and we talked about my sports stuff," says another AWS employee and friend of Desi's, Justin Wolf.

"If you're lucky enough to have a Desi in your life, you're a very lucky person," says Blazier.

Brian Eldridge, the 24 year old driver of the van Desi was in, remains in critical condition Friday evening. We wish wish him well and extend our sympathies to Trevor Bussen's family as well.

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