SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today named Springfield resident and World War II Veteran Rayburn Martin as the State of Illinois’ July 2009 “Veteran of the Month” for his dedication to the state’s military heroes and his local community.
The “Veteran of the Month” award is a distinction that is given monthly to military Veterans who give back to their community and continue to serve other Veterans. IDVA Assistant Director Sergio Estrada presented Martin with the prestigious award this afternoon during a special ceremony at the VFW Post 755 in Springfield.
“Mr. Rayburn Martin is an exceptional Illinois Veteran, who continues to put the needs of the community above himself. He defended America’s freedom during World War II, and he continues, even to this day, to serve his fellow comrades and the members of his community,” Assistant Director Estrada said. “I am extremely proud that today we honor and thank Mr. Martin for his service by presenting him with the State of Illinois’ July ‘Veteran of the Month’ award,”
Martin, now 93, is a U.S. Army Veteran who proudly served during World War II from 1940-1945. Martin was wounded in battle when his unit went through Omaha Beach in 1944. He recovered and was returned to his outfit just in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. Martin earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and a medal for the Battle of the Bulge, among his numerous wartime accomplishments.
After returning home from military service, Martin continued to serve his country and community as a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He also serves as Chaplain for Chapter 159 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and holds the same position at the state level. Martin – who did not retire until age 90 – is a regular contributor to the Chapter’s monthly newsletter.
Martin is an elder in the South Side Christian Church in Springfield and previously served as financial secretary for the LaGrange Bible Church. He is married to Elsie and has two daughters, Rayan and Pamela; two stepdaughters, Susan and Donna; and four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.
The “Veteran of the Month” award highlights the work of community activists who are also military Veterans. Each month the Department recognizes a different person or group that contributes to the betterment of communities across the state of Illinois. To nominate a “Veteran of the Month,” please visit IDVA’s website at veterans.illinois.gov or call IDVA at (312) 814-5538 to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.