Saturday, 01 September 2018 11:29

Martin comes back to give back Featured

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Martin signs a helmet for a young fan before the distribution. Martin signs a helmet for a young fan before the distribution. rrspin.com

Kareem Martin’s mission this morning wasn’t about football. It was about a chance to give back.

The Roanoke Rapids High School standout and new member of the New York Giants came back to his alma mater to give out book bags filled with school supplies to students in need.

“It means a lot to help those in need,” said Martin. “Sometimes they don’t have the things they need.”

Martin, who has earned a starting slot as linebacker for the Giants, is learning how to handle NFL success. “It’s a big change. It’s a change of life but not the person. It means a lot and I see this as a way to motivate change for someone.”

He wanted to do something to give back to his community and while he said a football camp at some point is not out of the question, “I felt this would be more meaningful. I felt like this would reach more people.”

Drafted in 2014 by the Arizona Cardinals, the University of North Carolina alum said coming back east makes life easier for him and his family in North Carolina.

He said he is pleased to see the talent coming into the NFL from Northeastern North Carolina — people like his former RRHS and UNC teammate Nazair Jones of the Seattle Seahawks and former Tarboro High School standout Todd Gurley who plays for the Los Angeles Rams.”It shows the talent from Northeastern North Carolina. Seeing these guys from Northeastern North Carolina, it’s endless. It’s a testament to their will and grit.”

One of his more intimate family goals has come to fruition. Construction of a new house on the outskirts of Roanoke Rapids for his mother is underway. It was a goal that was going to be done with or without football, he said. “I’m going to make sure she’s OK.”

His mother, Sandra, who came with her son for the book bag distribution, said she is proud of him. “Words can’t describe it. He was talking about this when he was a little kid. It’s like a dream now. It’s really happening.”

Mrs. Martin said she hopes to be in the house by December.

Martin believes the NFC East will competitive this year. “I got a very good preview of it last year. It’s a tough division. You’ve got the Super Bowl champions playing there and every team in the division has won the Super Bowl.”

Helping in the book bag and distribution were students in the DECA Advanced Studies Class.

“We’ve been working on this for about a month and a half,” said retired RRHS teacher Jan Tugwell, who was one of Martin’s teachers.

After discussions between Martin, his agent and Tugwell, Martin purchased more than 200 book bags filled with school supplies. They were distributed to students representing all the schools in the district.

For Tugwell, seeing Martin reach out to his community is what he is about. “It just makes me proud. He always had a heart of gold. He is a great example for all students in Roanoke Rapids.”

Said Martin: “It’s something I wanted to do to take some of the burden off the community.”

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