Gunner Martin was a joy of a child. He loved following his mom, Christina, around the house, always asking to hold his new baby sister, Jada, and waiting for his next snack time with his dad, Chris. He loved wrestling with his dogs, driving his electric car, but he especially loved his family. Everywhere he went, people would stop and smile at him, talk to him, and comment how he was such a beautiful boy. Physically, he was beautiful; but inside, he was just something too special for words.
April 6, 2016, started out like any other Wednesday. Chris was in his off season as a professional football player and they were excited as a family to head to a church event followed by a family dinner. Chris and Christina put Gunner down for a nap in his room right next to theirs, and they went to their room to watch a movie they had rented. Jada, being only 6 weeks old, joined Chris and Christina while her brother slept.
A few minutes after settling into their room, Jada had a messy spit up. Christina cleaned her up and walked out of their room to put Jada’s outfit and other clothes in the laundry, noticing that her sons door was still closed (leaving no reason for concern). After the movie was over however, and upon exiting their room together, both Chris and Christina noticed that Gunner’s door was cracked open. After walking further, they realized the sliding glass door which leads to the pool – the one that had both a top lock which normally remained locked, and an alarm on the door which they did not hear during the movie- was open. By the time they made it outside, they saw their little boy in the bottom of their backyard pool, despite the prevention measures they had in place in their home.
Chris immediately jumped into the pool to grab Gunner and begin performing CPR while Christina ran back inside to dial 911. It was only minutes before the ambulance arrived and the medics took over, and all Chris and Christina could do was give it to God. The police shut down the main streets between their house and the hospital as the ambulance was en route, ensuring that they arrived there as quickly as possible. The doctors worked for over an hour pumping water, performing CPR, and switching their positions over and over until they finally called his death; leaving Chris and Christina angry and shocked.
Chris and Christina didn’t want to see anyone, they just wanted their son. No words were enough. Nothing was enough, except God. He knew their pain; His son had also died. After hours and hours of crying, being silent, thinking, touching his hair, yelling, hugging, holding his hand, feeling nothing but pain, and more crying- they entered Gunners hospital room one last time. They held their little boy’s hand and tried to understand what just took place over the 10 hours since they found him, trying to see how they could ever feel normal again.
Gunner’s memorial service was held on Monday, April 11. Three hundred and sixty-five people were in attendance. Chris and Christina cried, they laughed, and they were surrounded by an army of people who loved Gunner and wanted to comfort them. Their path of healing has been an emotional journey; not without tears, pain, and hurt.
Gunner was a treasure.
Not a day goes by that they don’t miss their sweet boy, Gunner. Chris and Christina take comfort in knowing without any doubt that their beloved Gunner is in heaven with Jesus. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt. 19:14)
This foundation was created so that the Martins can keep their sweet Gunner’s memory alive by helping prevent this same tragedy among any other family.
Gunner Christopher Martin was 2 years, 2 months, 4 days and a few hours old when he went to be with Jesus.