Honoring a Hero

By: Karen Kostko
By: Karen Kostko

The sounds of bag pipes filled the air, sounds honoring a hero, a husband, a father, and a friend, the music part of a ceremony to say goodbye to fallen soldier SSG Stephen Martin.

"Steve will always be one of the most dedicated and professional officers I have ever met and the city of Rhinelander is a better and safer place because Steve Martin was here," says Martin's friend and co-worker on the police force, Herbert Heavner.

These are memories shared of Martin earlier today at a memorial service held in his honor. Martin lost his life July 1 after being critically injured serving our country in Iraq. Part of the Army's 330th Military Police Unit, Martin dedicated his life to helping others.

Martin's father Jim, shared some of his memories, and expressed his joy, joy that finally, Steve would meet his late brother Mark, in heaven.

"What's exciting for me today is when he got to heaven, he met Jesus. Right behind Jesus, was Mark. I can see Steve's older brother saying hey bro, where ya been," says father of Steve, Jim Martin.

As Martin made his way to his final resting place, citizens lined the streets of Rhinelander paying their respects. Silently, lights flashed on top of police cars, cars from Rhinelander, all the way to Shawno County.

In the Thursday's final ceremonial moments, American flags were presented to Steve's wife Kathy, and his parents, a symbol of a soldier and an American hero.