Martin is one of the recipients to be honored at the
White House on Thursday, October 20
Bluffton, SC, October 10, 2011—Long-time Bluffton resident and founder of Bluffton Self Help, a non profit agency serving Bluffton, SC residents for 24 years, has been selected by the President of the United States, Barack Obama to be among a select few citizens to receive the highest civilian award, The Presidential Citizens Medal. Over 6,000 citizens were nominated for this medal.
This year’s Citizen Award Ceremony celebrates 40 years of recognizing Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens” as described on the White House’s official website.
“We, the staff and the board of Bluffton Self Help, strongly believed that Ida Martin was the perfect person to nominate for this award,” said Lili Coleman, executive director of Bluffton Self Help. “Her untiring energy and tenacious efforts to care for her neighbors has remained consistent throughout her years of service.”
Martin received the call from the White House in early October. True to her nature, she immediately worded appreciation to Town of Bluffton officials including Mayor Lisa Sulka, other non profit agencies and her volunteers and staff for all the successes of Bluffton Self Help.
“I couldn’t have done it alone,” said Martin. “Since so much has been given to me, and I don’t want for anything, my blessings always come right back to me.”
Martin went on to say, “I feel so honored and I know that the timing of this award is critical to the completion of our effort to move Bluffton Self Help to its next level.” Martin is referring to the new 6,500 square foot building the agency will move into on November 7. This new location has additional space to continue offering the core agency’s services of food, clothing and financial assistance in a crisis; and the opportunity to expand services, as additional needs are identified. The capital campaign’s remaining goal is $250,000 for the renovation of the building and a 10-year endowment fund.
From Martin’s private residence, referred to in the early days as the “Big House” to the creation of the first Board of Directors in 1987, Bluffton Self Help continued to grow and service more and more people. In the late 1980s, Martin applied to the mayor of Bluffton, then George Heyward, for a building. He offered the little town building now the town garage and in 1990, the little non profit moved to the current location of 1,000 square feet, in a turn-of-the century jailhouse. As the years went by, Martin’s perseverance continued whereas today over 70 volunteers, with two full time staff members, service over 22,000 and growing clients annually.
In addition to the volunteers and staff, Bluffton Self Help has recruited, under Martin’s direction, a 14-member board of directors representing a hard working, experienced and innovative team that oversee this non profit agency.
Traveling with Martin to Washington D.C. will be a representative from Bluffton Self Help and, very excited and proud, family members.
For more information on Ida Martin and Bluffton Self Help, Inc. visit the PRESS ROOM at Blufftonselfhelp.org. or call Lili Coleman, Executive Director at 843-757-8000. All requests for interviews should be directed to Lili Coleman at Bluffton Self Help.
Bluffton Self Help is a nonprofit agency that was founded in 1987 to help Bluffton neighbors in critical need of food, clothing and financial assistance while supporting them in becoming more self-reliant Information on Ida Martin and her photograph is available on the website.