HAVELOCK, N.C. --
The students’ excitement showed on their faces as they filed into the Havelock Elementary School library to spend an hour with their Marines. Sgt. Martin Sanchez Jr., an electronic countermeasures systems instructor with the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, was just as excited for his recent bi-weekly visit.
Sanchez said he loves giving back to the community and setting a good example for his Marines. The smiles he puts on the students’ faces are a plus as well.
For this and other regular volunteer work, Sanchez’ family was awarded the Havelock Military Affairs Committee’s Military Family of the Quarter award at the Carolina Grill in Havelock Jan. 22.
When he’s at the school, Sanchez said he talks and jokes with the students, reads to them and helps with homework, which he said can be surprisingly tough. He said he has enjoyed building relationships with them.
“The very first day of doing it, I showed up and didn’t know any of the kids,” Sanchez said. “Now I know all their names, and they all know me. I enjoy being able to have an impact on the children’s lives.”
Sanchez and his wife Ruby also volunteer with their church. Among other events, they have helped the church with its Easter picnic and free movie at the park events.
“The church we go to is a smaller church,” Sanchez said. “The whole philosophy is to love God, love others and serve the world. We serve the world by getting out in the community and helping out.”
Ruby is also active in the community. She volunteers with the church and started a Mommy and Me play date program. Her idea was to get mothers and children to come out and connect at different venues around the local area.
Sanchez said he is lucky to be afforded the opportunity to volunteer as much as he does. Not only does he enjoy it, but as a Marine sergeant and an instructor to junior Marines at CNATT, Sanchez serves as a role model for many. He said he tries to be the best one he can be.
“I try to lead by example,” he said. “I would like for my Marines to go out and give to the community, and I have to lead the way. Community service is important, and as Marines, it’s important to give back.”