Retired NYPD sergeant Johnny Marines has been the man behind the man for the past 12 years, working with bachata star Romeo Santos in various capacities – be it as his head of security, manager or producer.

Marines, a Lower East Side native, began using his gains in music to pay it forward by collaborating with local charitable organizations in recent years, and it was through such work that the idea to found the Johnny Marines Blessings Foundation was born.

“I realized that this is something that I really want to do, probably for the rest of my life,” Marines, 41, says.

“My father died when I was very young. My mother, even though she was struggling to make ends meet, even without her intentionally demonstrating her kindness, she was doing just that by going to work six days a week and making sure that we still had a meal on our table and a roof over our heads.”

Marines, whose parents are from the Dominican province of Santiago, graduated from the New York City Police Academy in 1994. His time on the force included a nine-year stint from 1994 to 2003 working out of the 13th Precinct and three years on the Manhattan North anti-crime unit. He retired in 2009.

Marines was prompted to join New York’s Finest by witnessing many of his childhood friends’ lives get consumed by both the selling and usage of drugs as he was growing up in the Jacob Riis Houses.

“I had the right priorities from an early age, and a lot of that I (attribute) to my family upbringing,” says Marines.

“You started seeing the junkies and how it affected their entire lives and their families. But also you see some of your friends go to jail, and you see some of them get killed. So, just seeing that made me from my early age kind of want to stay away from it.”