Spotlight on a Member: Marie Martin

Spotlight on a Member
Marie Martin
Submitted by Dana Guthrie

Marie Martin has been a Charter Member of Rotary Club of Forest, Virginia since February 2003. Dana Guthrie conducted the following interview with Marie for this Spotlight on a Member.
Tell me about your family.

I have been married to Jim Martin for 51 years. We live in Lynchburg, Virginia with our two dogs. Over the years, we have rescued seven dogs, mostly Yorkies, and two cats. We have one son, Rick Martin, who is 46 years old. Rick is the Head of Theology at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rick has two children, our grandchildren, Simon, who is 10 years old, and Courtenay, who is 19 years old. Courtenay is a sophomore at University of North Carolina Greensboro. Jim and I have a second home in Cary, North Carolina, where we enjoy spending time with our family.
What is your occupation?

When Jim and I sold our Jim Martin Pontiac Buick GMC dealership in February 2008, Jim was ready to retire, but I was not ready yet. Soon after, due to my extensive community involvement in Rotary and other organizations, I was offered and accepted the position of President of United Way of Central Virginia. I have been serving United Way of Central Virginia as President for almost nine years. In another life, I was a real estate agent in Little Rock, Arkansas for 15 years and was named as one of the Top 10 Real Estate Agents in the area.
How did you get involved in Rotary?

When Jim and I lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jim was part owner of an auto dealership and a member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock. We bought our own dealership and moved to Lynchburg, Virginia in 1996. In 1997 Jim joined the Rotary Club of Lynchburg. In 2002, Past District Governor (PDG) Rae Carpenter, who was working on chartering Rotary Club of Forest, Virginia stopped by our dealership to let Jim know about the new club. After PDG Rae found out that Jim already belonged to the Lynchburg Rotary Club, he asked Jim if he thought I would be interested. Jim arranged for me to meet PDG Rae to find out more about the establishment of Rotary Club of Forest. I really liked Rae and thought it would be wonderful to be part of establishing a brand new club to help our community and looked forward to meeting new people. I also enjoyed meeting Case Pieterman, who was helping PDG Rae charter Rotary Club of Forest. Joining Rotary Club of Forest when it was chartered in February 2003 was a win-win.
What led you to being elected Rotary Club of Forest’s second President and first woman President for the July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004 term?

I was asked to consider being President. I told myself that if I was seriously interested in my Club, then, of course, I would serve as President.
How many Rotary Club of Forest members have you sponsored and why have you sponsored them? I have sponsored so many new members that I have lost count of them all. I know that I hold the Rotary Club of Forest title for sponsoring the most ever... however many that might be. I have always felt confident and passionate about what our Club has to offer others: a chance to be part of a family and to give back to the community. I find it easy to talk about Rotary and to encourage others to be a part of it.
How have you helped Rotary over the years?

People often say, “Ask Marie; she will do everything she can for you.” I am a highly motivated, goal-oriented person, who is passionate and compassionate. I believe in “Service Above Self.” Jim and I have both received the 110% Governor’s Award. I am a Paul Harris Fellow+1 and Jim is a Paul Harris Fellow+2. My leadership and fundraising skills have been instrumental to our Club. I have held various club positions and organized the Festival of Trees fundraiser along with others over the years. For the last five years, I have also helped the Rotary Club of Altavista, Virginia collect 200+ stuffed animals each year for their Annual Good Friday Easter Egg Hunt for differently abled adults and children.
What do you like most about being a member of Rotary Club of Forest? The things I like the most are getting to know club members along with other Rotarians and giving back to our community by taking part in projects. I felt it was very important to stay in Rotary after becoming President of United Way of Central Virginia, as both organizations go hand in hand serving others.
How would you like to help Rotary Club of Forest in the future?

I think it is wonderful that our Club is growing. Currently, we have 28 members and will soon be at 29. I would like to continue sponsoring new members to keep the trend going. I would also love to help our Club find a signature fundraiser.
What advice would you give to new Rotarians? Embrace Rotary as a special opportunity to meet new people, who like you want to give back to the community.