Ida Martin to be added to Bluffton's Wall of Honor

cconley@islandpacket.comApril 7, 2012 

  • Four people have been named to Bluffton's Wall of Honor since it was created in 2010. They are:

  • Daniel Hassell Heyward Sr. -- Longtime Bluffton politician and mayor

  • Charles Ephraim Ulmer II -- Longtime Beaufort County School District trustee

  • Sam Bennett -- Known as Mr. Baseball in Bluffton, architect of Bluffton Eagles

  • Michael C. Riley -- Longtime Beaufort County School District trustee Town to add Ida Martin to Bluffton's 'Wall of Honor'

Ida Martin has received many honors through the years, including the Presidential Citizens Medal and her unforgettable hug from Barack Obama.

The founder of Bluffton Self Help will get another accolade Tuesday, when she'll be added to the Wall of Honor at Bluffton Town Hall.

"I am excited, I am honored and I guess I am just blessed," Martin said this week. "I care for people, and to receive an award like that, it's just a prescription for me."

Martin, 85, will become the fifth person inducted to Wall of Honor since Mayor Lisa Sulka created it in 2010. Martin will be the first woman selected and the first to receive the honor while still alive.

The five-person Wall of Honor Commission meets quarterly to choose new inductees. Chairwoman Babbie Guscio said Martin was a unanimous choice in a town with plenty of deserving people.

"We thought it was fitting to nominate Ida for all that she has done for the less fortunate," Guscio said, adding that Martin has been "a selfless contributor to the welfare of Bluffton for nearly 30 years."

Martin started Bluffton Self Help in 1987, nearly eight years after she and her husband, Jacob Martin, moved to Bluffton. The organization, which began in her garage, provided food, clothing and short-term financial assistance 22,000 people in 2011, according to executive director Lili Coleman.

Although Martin retired more than six years ago, she still has a hand in the agency and makes sure people who need help get it, Coleman said.

Last fall, Martin was one of 13 people chosen to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal, which recognized her work with Bluffton Self Help. She described her hug from President Obama during the awards ceremony as a highlight of her life.

Sulka said she created the wall to recognize people who have made lasting contributions to the town. Martin, she said, is "very deserving."

"She just believes ... that if people are happy, healthy and safe, then they are good for our town and it makes our whole town better," Sulka said.

Martin will be recognized during a brief ceremony at Tuesday's Town Council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Her photo will probably be added to the Wall of Honor, directly outside council chambers, on Wednesday.

Follow reporter Casey Conley at

Related content

Bluffton Self Help founder wins Presidential Citizens Medal, 10/12/11

Martin gets medal -- and hug -- from commander-in-chief, 10/20/11

Martin, Doughtie win top chamber award, 2/4/12

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