7 Who Care Honoree 2012: Lee Martin

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For many, retirement is a period of life to focus on one's self. For the next ABC 7 Who Care honoree Lee Martin, he committed his retirement to helping those in Manatee County and he rarely takes the day off.

For Lee Martin making sure the Bill Galvano One Stop Center runs smoothly is a full-time job, and he does it for free. “I feel very proud of what we have here.”

Martin is a volunteer at the center, which serves the needs of thousands of low income and homeless people in Manatee County.

The One Stop Center provides personal hygiene services, medical and dental care, and rental assistance and job counseling. Martin, as a member of the Community Coalition on Homelessness, help build the center from the ground up. “It's a tremendous feeling that we are helping so many folks and have so many people working with you that are doing such a wonderful job.”

After Successful careers in engineering and consulting, Martin retired on the Suncoast, but he hasn't slowed down. Martin used his expertise to help build 70 affordable homes in Manatee County before serving as the volunteer project manager during construction of the One Stop Center. “I got a lot of skill sets. I got engineering degrees, and I'm willing to use them for best of the community and the best of humanity, and hopefully I have left a legacy somewhere.

If his name on the wall at the One Stop Center isn't proof enough, the grateful people he works with can vouch for Martin's central role. “It’s his vision that let us create this beautiful building that we're in,” says Coordinator Cheryl Hedger.

Hedger says she is not surprised Martin was chosen as a 7 Who Care honoree. “You think of all the volunteer hours and the fact that without him, you know, a lot of this would never have happened.”

In the last year and a half, Martin has logged in more than 1,700 volunteer hours. That time commitment is one reason Executive Director Adelle Erozer nominated Martin for 7 Who Care. “He has a lot of experience and a lot of different areas that have been relevant for us, not only the building and the construction, but management, working with clients, working with staff. It's just very good.”

She was ecstatic to find out that Martin would finally be recognized for his tireless commitment to community service. “This is a really good honor. It's an award that he really deserves and I was so happy that they selected him.

“I'm humbled and thrilled and I hope it brings more for the center here and more for other people to say, hey, I'd like to get on board. I'd like to help. I'd like to do something and it sounds like a fun place to be.