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Warriors to Hometown Heroes

Mark Martin

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Mark Martin and other volunteers work the landscaping at Shelter House.

Major Mark Martin is a 13-year active duty flight test engineer for the 18th Flight Test Squadron, and a man who has also dedicated his personal life to the service of others in need.

 

“You know the old saying, if you have the right job, you never work a day in your life?” he asks. “Well, that describes me.”

 

Mark’s passion early in life was architecture—“the perfect blend of technical and creativity,” he says. But reality and cost gave way to his second passion, engineering and flight, a choice Mark has never regretted. Mark’s career in the Air Force has been a wonderful adventure, and our communities get to reap the benefits of his other lifelong passion—giving to others.

 

“For lack of a better example, I am like the old lady who has cats and is always taking in one more stray,” he explains. “When I see another new community activity, I can’t turn my back on it. Indeed, when someone approaches me with a community project, I volunteer in many cases without even thinking, because I think I’m making a difference in the world.”

 

This explains the hundreds of community hours Mark has given, in time and hard work, to the Emerald Coast during the two tours of duty that brought him to our area. His charitable nature has not gone unnoticed. Major Martin has earned the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his devotion to helping others.

 

Mark has volunteered with Emerald Coast Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Give a Child Christmas, Emerald Coast Autism Center, Shelter House, Smoke on the Coast, Fisher House, Blues Brews & BBQ, the Air Force Enlisted Village and Habitat for Humanity, a personal favorite.

 

“Everywhere my job has taken me, I have reached out to Habitat for Humanity or a similar program, because it is at the core of doing for others who are in need,” he says.

 

He has also put his engineering background to work for community children and mentored at several elementary schools. One of his most memorable projects was volunteering for the STEM Program in Robotics at Crestview Elementary.

 

Whether ensuring that our nation’s aircraft protect us, being a part of combating cancer and bone marrow disease, or helping build a playground for autistic children, Major Martin represents what we expect and see often from our military here—a dedication to serving our country and its citizens.

 

Submissions for this feature are welcome. Send your candidate’s name and contact info to chris@beachcomberdestin.com.

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