The generosity of Yumans never fails to amaze me.
Case in point? The new project launched by Ron Martin Tuesday night at the Heart of Yuma award ceremony.
Martin has pledged to build two houses which will in turn be sold to benefit the Yuma Veterans Fund and the Yuma Community Food Bank.
Martin was passionate in his appeal for help on the project.
He noted when he was a teenager, he lost his father in the Vietnam War, and he remembered well what it was like to struggle.
His speech was a rallying cry for support, noting that the region has been hard hit in the last several years – that Somerton and San Luis in particular have “lost several young men in the wars during the last several years,” while the food bank works hard to help Yuma and in turn needs help.
To give Martin's call some perspective, at least 12 people with ties to Yuma County have been lost due to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some were raised here, like Sgt. Fernando Padilla, Sgt. Ismael Solorio and Sgt. Frank Sandoval, while others were stationed here – Maj. Jay Aubin, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, for example – but all left their mark on this community.
Contributing to the Yuma Veterans Fund is a terrific way to honor their memories, and to help those veterans who return and are in need of our help. Another bonus? All money from the fund will be distributed locally – a win-win for the community.
As for the Yuma Community Food Bank, it's hard to know where to begin. Yuma County has been hard hit with sky-high unemployment, and nearly 43 percent of kids here don't know where their next meal is coming from – a staggering problem that the food bank is working desperately to solve. The organization needs help in a variety of ways, from donations to volunteers.
Martin's call to action is inspirational. It's clear why he was named the 2006 Philanthropist of the Year by the Yuma Community Foundation – but he will need help from our community.
To put this house donation project together, Martin said he will need both manpower and materials. And, several volunteered on the spot, including Jonathan Lines, who offered up roofing services.
Yuma, if you'd like to be a part of this cause, give Martin a call at 726-3307.
For more information on the Yuma Veterans Fund, contact the Yuma Community Foundation at 539-5343. To learn more about the Yuma Community Food Bank, call 343-1243.
Roxanne Molenar is the assignments editor for the Yuma Sun. She can be contact via email at email@example.com or via telephone at 539-6862.