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Martin did extraordinary things for Harrison County

During my time working for The Corydon Democrat, I would get many ideas for articles through phone calls, emails or someone off the street with a good story to tell.

One I’ll always remember was from a colleague of my mom’s at North Harrison Elementary School, who sent her an email about how much her kids and the young guys at the (Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept.) admired and loved this 80-plus-year-old member of the department who would continue to do all of the same work they did and would even often outwork them. The email said, “The newspaper just has to do a story on him!”

I had no doubt who “him” was.

Paul (Pete) Martin was referred to as the “Father of EMS” in Harrison County. The story was quite easy to write. In fact, former Harrison County EMS director Gary Kleeman had so much admiration for Martin that he practically wrote the story himself.

Martin helped establish the Ramsey fire department in 1961 and continued to serve throughout his lifetime. He saw a need for the community and helped fill it.

In 2002, Martin was named EMT of the Year for outstanding service and dedication and, in 2016, he received the Emergency Medical Technician Emeritus Award from the state of Indiana.

He was one of the key developers of the 911 phone and road grid system, a monumental piece of emergency services in the county.

Martin served on the Harrison County Hospital board from 1976 to 2012, including stints as chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary.

In 2010, emergency personnel, family and community members gathered at the newly-built EMS station in Corydon which was dedicated in Martin’s honor.

Martin’s life reminds me of a story Jimmy Valvano told in one of his featured speeches. Valvano said, “The lord must have loved ordinary people. Because he made so many of us.”

Valvano said he was a 16-year-old thinking he was special, and here is a reverend at a basketball camp, a man he respects as much as anyone, telling him he wasn’t special. Valvano said he was a little mad, but then he said the line that changed his life forever. He said every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people do extraordinary things.

“Every day, ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things,” Valvano said.

It is said you leave your mark on earth by the legacy you leave behind, which, for Martin, is nothing short of extraordinary. Martin’s legacy, from his emergency services career to his caring for community, can only be outdone by his family that remains throughout the community and beyond. That family includes, of course, his kin but also the EMS and Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept. family. In both, there are many exceptional people of all ages.

Before Indiana’s Bicentennial torch relay celebration began in 2016, former First Lady Judy O’Bannon said these words about Hoosiers:

“People that are hard-working, determined, well-meaning and faithful. Smart, honest, capable, creative, disciplined and informed, focused but fun. We’re going to find people committed to family, community and to faith. A wonderful mix of uniqueness and diversity, all eager to make tomorrow even better than today.”

O’Bannon then passed the torch to Martin, who exemplified all of what O’Bannon described a Hoosier to be, especially the final line: “eager to make tomorrow even better than today.”

Ross Schulz | Ramsey, Ind.