In 1987, a single mom and her children moved in across the street from Ida Martin. Ida saw the refrigerator was empty, except for a bottle of water. So, she bought them groceries. And I guess once she got started, she couldn’t stop. So, last year, the organization she founded answered nearly 22,000 requests for aid,” President Obama said. Ida Martin, 84, of Bruin Road, is a Savannah native whose family is from White Hall in Colleton County. In 1979, she moved to the hometown of her husband, Jacob Martin, after his retirement as a Detroit police officer. She began providing food and clothes to those in need from her car trunk and garage. With others help, the nonprofit Bluffton Self Help was born in 1987 to help working families and senior citizens in need of food and other emergency assistance.
HER CITATION: Here is Martin’s citation: “When Ida Martin realized the needs of working families and senior citizens in her community were not being met, she took matters into her own hands. Out of her garage, she founded Bluffton Self Help to provide aid to community members in urgent need of food, clothing and short-term assistance. Over 20 years later, she continues to be guided by her devotion to helping those who desire to help themselves, and her organization remains a vital resource for those in need. For her remarkable efforts on behalf of those less fortunate, the United States honors Ida Martin.”
While the citation was read, President Obama embraced Martin with his right hand around her back. When he handed her the medal, which rested in a box, she reached up and hugged him and he hugged her back. She was applauded while another military aide escorted her back to her seat on the stage.
The White House selected the recipients from nominations made by the public.
“I’m happy to say that there was a pretty stiff competition for these medals. Citizens from nearly all walks of life submitted nearly 6,000 nominations online, and it took us four months to select the winners. In the end, these 13 individuals were chosen not just for the work they do, but for the example that they set,” President Obama said.
Shake it Off
By Sheldon Reynolds, Former Guitarist, Earth Wind and Fire
At the age of 51, Parkinson’s started to affect me. I first noticed my left hand shaking and sometimes my balance was unsteady. It became frustrating for me. The body didn’t want to respond to the signals I was sending it. It was like a delayed reaction from brain to body. For my family, it’s been a real test of patience. They see a guy go from someone dancing all over the Internet to someone stumbling and struggling to keep his balance. They see two different people. My family was definitely aware of Parkinson’s, yet the funny thing is there is no history of the disease in my family. I’m the reluctant pioneer selected who wanted to do something extraordinary in my life. And I did.
I mean music and not Parkinson’s. My wife, Marilyn, does a great job taking care of me and I’m grateful for her understanding. For sure, you need to pray for patience, patience and more patience! Something to always keep in mind: your loved ones are living with this 24 hours and seven days a week, too. My prayer is that someday there is a cure, so no one else has to live feeling disoriented like those of us living with and caring for those with PD. If you care about people, you want to help them.
I came to the conclusion that Parkinson’s is like a one- way mirror: you can see others, but they can’t see what you’re dealing with inside. It takes time for the body to catch up to what the brain has instructed it to do.
Although I have Parkinson’s, the dreams and creative juices are still flowing. I continue to produce music, sing and perform. I have written a book called A Voice from Heaven. I have a radio show called Sheldon Reynolds and Friends, which I hope to continue doing as long as I can. I love to do interviews and speaking engagements, and am seeking opportunities to help others. My team is developing a reality music show for songwriters and a music talk show for artists and musicians. In the course of my world travels with Earth, Wind and Fire, I’ve taken many pictures of places all over the world. I would like to share them in a future exhibition. I also check on my longtime friend, Maurice White. Every day I’m grateful to get up in the morning, take a walk in the park, and do what I enjoy doing using my God-given talents. I won’t let Parkinson’s stop me – and don’t let it stop you! Join me and let’s shake it off!
Sheldon Reynolds is widely known as former lead guitarist and vocalist for the legendary group Earth, Wind and Fire (1987-2002). During that era, Reynolds recorded with the group Chicago. Before joining Earth, Wind and Fire, Reynolds toured with blues performer Millie Jackson. He later played and produced music for Capital recording artist, Sun, and joined The Commodores in 1983
Never worry about your position in life. When you are anointed by God and faith, to serve others do it! Everyone should pray, no one is exempt from prayer. If you are going to survive pray. Everything in life is created with purpose, discovering our purpose is the challenge. Sometimes listening to the ones with nothing to lose, will assist us in gaining wisdom. In every culture on earth the soul is connected to breath, so breathe to connect with the soul and achieve inner peace.
Depression is a result of a hole in our psyche, we have lost so many traditions that kept us connected as the human race. Human beings have lost a lot over time, including the ability to connect with others, therefore we are regressing. Human beings are at risk not the earth. Take time every day to notice the beauty around you, everything, the flowers, animals, oceans and their content was designed for your pleasure. So embrace your uniqueness and enjoy the earth.