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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Martin gets as much as he gives through volunteering

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Putnam County Senior Center volunteer Buck Martin mans the front desk. [Order this photo]
GREENCASTLE -- The Putnam County Senior Center in downtown Greencastle is always buzzing with activity.

On any given day, one can find a card or bingo game going on, people coming and going from the used clothing store housed within the center or groups of people just chatting and enjoying each other's company.

One of the main reasons the center runs so smoothly and is such an active place is because of the many volunteers who give of their time there.

One of the most dedicated of those volunteers is 67-year-old Buck Martin.

"This center just couldn't stay open without the volunteers, and Buck is one of the best," said Senior Center Executive Director Kyle Hutchison.

On a recent morning, Martin sat at the front desk of the center, manning the phone and helping people find what they were looking for (many were in search of the Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry, which used to be house in Senior Center building but recently moved to a new location on Tennessee Street in Greencastle).

Martin, who is the pastor of Clinton Falls Community Church in Greencastle, lost his wife Patti to melanoma on Aug. 5, 2009. Instead of letting himself be mired down in grief, he decided to begin volunteering at the Putnam County Senior Center.

"We had been married for 11 years, but I knew her for 20 years before that," Martin said. "She was my life after the Lord."

Martin said after his wife's death, he had a lot of time on his hands.

"I knew the center was here," he said. "So I came in to see what I could do."

A little over a year later, Martin is a fixture at the center. He comes in to help out every weekday.

"I do whatever they need," Martin said. "I serve meals, run the exercise class, open the door for people and help people up the stairs. I love it here ... I'm here every morning for at least two hours."

For Martin, time spent at the senior center isn't a chore at all.

"I know pretty much everyone who comes in here," he said. "We have coffee and talk. For me, this has taken the place of family."

Martin would love to see more seniors take advantage of all the Putnam County Senior Center has to offer.

"We do so much up here; if we can just get people in the door they'll love it," he said.

He would also like to see the center get more community support.

"I think Greencastle can do more for seniors," he said. "We need a new roof and new air conditioning."

Martin believes people would be more willing to donate to the center if they truly understood what goes on there on a daily basis.

"It's like a home," he said. "You can come here and eat, and there are people to talk to."

And Martin knows first hand how beneficial having a place like to can be.

"The participation will just get you back into living," he said with a wide smile. "These people here ... they love you to pieces. I've cried on every shoulder in here."

Martin has been heartened by the support he gets from those who come to the senior center.

"They are just all so loving," he said. "Without this place, after I lost my wife I would have been a very lonely person. Even though I have the Lord, I'm still a person, and I need people."

Martin has also found that he can use his own life experience to help others.

"Losing a spouse is the worst thing you can ever go through," he said. "It happens to a lot of seniors ... I've been there and I can talk to them about it."

Martin also volunteers at local nursing homes.

"I help with bingo and just talk to people," he said.

In addition, he is the chaplain of the Greencastle American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.

"I go there a lot to talk to the veterans," he said.

Martin also acts as the chaplain for the Greencastle Police Department.

For all the time he donates to others, Martin, who has been an ordained Baptist minister since 1975, is very humble.

"The only good thing about me is Jesus Christ," he said. "Everything I do, I do for Him I don't do anything for Buck."

His calling, Martin believes, is to be there for people, to be someone they can turn to.

"I don't meet a stranger," he said. "People come to me a lot to talk about spiritual matters. I do what I do because I'm looking for something greater over yonder. I want a crown I can lay at His feet."

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had he been more respectful of his former wife's family after she died nearly 13 years ago, he would still have a family today.

-- Posted by indianaresident on Thu, Sep 30, 2010, at 4:39 PM

Pastor Buck Martin cheerfully serves the Lord. I have only known him for the past 5-7 years, but find him to be very genuine and compassionate. I feel certain he will one day hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" when he gets to heaven. Keep up the good work Pastor Buck.

-- Posted by pmm1950 on Thu, Sep 30, 2010, at 4:51 PM

i have the honor of knowing buck, hes a great man and a great friend, and deserves a good place in heaven for him.

-- Posted by lleonard47 on Thu, Sep 30, 2010, at 6:48 PM

My Husband and I met Pastor Martin through friends and found him to be a very kind man. God bless you and your Ministry.

-- Posted by darladeewp on Tue, Nov 9, 2010, at 9:39 AM

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