News Releases

National monument honors late FWC pilot Joe Martyna

News Release

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459; or
Katie Purcell, 850 459-6585

Two and half years ago, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) tragically lost one of its top pilots. Fellow employees, friends and family lost a companion, husband, son and brother.

On Nov. 16, 2008, after returning from a search-and-rescue mission, Lt. Joseph Martyna suffered a heart attack in his Boca Raton home. In the final hours of his life, he was doing what he loved: protecting and serving the public.

"He was available 24/7," said Capt. Kevin Vislocky, Martyna's supervisor for 10 years. "He had no problem dropping whatever he was doing to provide immediate response."

On Sunday, May 15, Martyna's name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial walls in Washington, D.C. These walls include the names of officers who have died in the line of duty, exhibited commendable service and made sacrifices for the safety and protection of others. Each year, an engraving ceremony during National Police Week commemorates the officers.

Martyna's fellow FWC employees have ensured that he is not only remembered, but honored to the utmost degree. Since his death, they have been compiling information and organizing and submitting applications for Martyna's name to be approved for addition to the wall.

"No greater honor can be bestowed upon those who have made the ultimate sacrifice than the addition of their names to the memorial wall," said Capt. Denise Warrick, leader of the FWC's Honor Guard.

Martyna joined the Florida Marine Patrol, an FWC predecessor agency, in 1987. Throughout his career of more than 20 years, Martyna became known as a "pilot's pilot."  He lived and breathed flying for the FWC.

Martyna's wife, Pam, will attend the engraving-day ceremony with the FWC's Honor Guard, and will receive the Medal of Valor on Martyna's behalf.

FWC Facts:
All vessels must have a wearable USCG-approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board.

Learn More at AskFWC