Victor Martin had faced many dangerous obstacles growing up in Richmond, Calif.’s notorious Iron Triangle District, but when he traveled to Alaska on a monthlong school trip and came face-to-face with an angry half-ton grizzly bear, he showed himself and his community what he was truly made of.
In Alaska on a $4,000 Outdoor Leadership School scholarship, Martin, 18, was one of six young adults who were left without supervision in the wilderness for a 30-day leadership training course that was cut short by the bear attack on the 26th day. The bear mauled two of Victor’s classmates then started after him, but Victor was able to fight the grizzly off with several kicks that sent the dazed animal lumbering back off into the wild.
“Oh yeah, I looked at him in his face. I kicked him, right in the middle of his face,” Victor said of his brief battle with the bear. “He was done after that K.O. You don’t mess with me.”
Martin suffered a deep bite wound to his ankle, but was able to use his survival training to dress his wound and help the other victims stay comfortable and safe until help arrived eight hours later. “You know the whole time I’m worried what if the bear comes back,” Martin said. “There are two people who can’t walk and I’m limping.”
Martin believes he’s lucky to be alive, and says it was divine intervention that helped save his and his friends’ lives. “It’s not my time, I still have a lot to do, a lot to accomplish, and I think that Man up there, agrees,” he said. The lesson Victor learned from surviving the ordeal: “There’s nothing I can’t handle.”