Through our work at Habitat BMC, we feel blessed to have connected with so many inspiring individuals and partner with them through our Affordable Housing Initiatives. Every family we serve has a beautiful story that demonstrates their determination to build a better future for themselves and their families. One homeowner that we’ve worked with this year is particularly special – McDonald Martin, an Air Force Veteran and longtime resident of Palmyra. McDonald has lived a life of service – and now we get to serve him!
McDonald Martin is the most kindhearted man you will have the pleasure of encountering. The staff and volunteers at Habitat BMC were lucky enough to meet him when he heard about Habitat constructing a new, affordable Veteran home on his street in Palmyra. He shared his story about interviewing Habitat’s very own founder, Millard Fuller, when he visited Camden while Mr. Martin was working at a radio station. McDonald was so moved by Mr. Fuller that he volunteered on a Habitat home build in Camden.
From 1951-1959, McDonald Martin served in the Air Force working in communication. He says he joined as a way to travel the world because he couldn’t afford it on his own. McDonald happily shares that he visited 3 other countries throughout his time in service. After his time in the Air Force, McDonald continued his military association working for a Navy facility in Pennsylvania that trained astronauts. He also worked at the Navy Supply Depot in Philadelphia as a security guard, in the warehouse, and in cardiographics.
McDonald Martin has lived in his home in Palmyra since 1970. It’s a happy place full of memories with his children and grandchildren, but has also become a place of stress due to a leaking roof, a broken heater, and damaged garage doors. With the winter months rapidly approaching, Habitat BMC is providing McDonald with repairs that will help him enjoy the holiday season, and many more, in a safe, warm, and modern home.
Mr. Martin has spent his life serving his country, his community, and his loved ones, but is not the kind of man to ask for anything in return. That made this project all the more special when Habitat staff, volunteers, and trusted contractor Premier Roofing initiated the repairs on his home in early December. The team started with the largest project, the roof. When asked about the work, McDonald reflected, “I can’t wait to have no more leaks. I had to abandon my bedroom because the leaks got too bad. Wonderful thing to know that the roof is fixed.”
In the week leading up to Christmas, Habitat staff paid McDonald a visit and surprised him with holiday treats, decorations, and a handmade bench built by Princeton High School’s Habitat for Humanity Club. This year, social distancing and trying to keep loved ones safe has led to a lot of us feeling isolated, but a small exchange like this certainly makes all the difference and gives us that feeling of community we’ve missed.
About Veterans Build
Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Build Initiative honors the men and women in the armed services by partnering with military and veteran families, volunteers, and community organizations to build and repair homes for veterans in need. Locally, you can find a new home to be purchased by a Veteran Family in Palmyra this New Year as well as 3 Veteran Homeowners across our service area who received home repairs!
Watch the Channel 6 News coverage on Mr.Martin here!