U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jon Martin of Bellevue loves fighting for his country, but now finds himself in a coma, fighting for his life.
Martin, 33, was injured when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb Nov. 9 while serving his third tour in Iraq, his sister Heather Bollinger said.
Martin -- a marathon runner -- was taken to Camp Anaconda in Baghdad, where his left leg was amputated and his spleen was removed, his sister said. The explosion also left Martin with a broken left arm and pelvis and punctured lung.
Martin was also placed on a ventilator and dialysis machine because his kidneys are failing, she said.
"I visualize what he's going through, and it hurts me that I can't help him," Bollinger said. "I can't hold his hand. He's not here, but at the same time, I'm grateful he's still alive."
Martin has been in a medically-induced coma since the explosion and is in critical condition at a private hospital in Germany, she said.
Martin, a platoon leader for the 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky., worked in air assault.
Bollinger said there are days she just wants to cry, but she knows her brother's strength will pull him through.
"He's a Martin. He's bull-headed," she said. "Anyone who knows Jon knows that he's very strong."
Martin returned for his third tour in Iraq, despite getting wounded while serving his second tour. He received a Purple Heart after a roadside bomb injured the tendons in one arm.
Jon's wife and mother left for Germany on Sunday and could be gone for two weeks, Bollinger said.
Martin and his wife have three children: Alaina, 8; Allie, 5; and Trenton, 10 months. Alaina and Allie attended school in Kentucky, but have since transferred to York Elementary School in Bellevue and are staying with their maternal grandmother, his sister said. Bollinger and her husband are caring for Trenton.
"They know that he's hurt, but they don't know how bad the injuries are," Bollinger said. "They miss their mom and dad."
Steve Schumm, superintendent of Bellevue Schools, said the children will have their books and school supplies paid for through the Wounded Soldier's Fund.
Martin, a 1993 graduate of Bellevue High School, served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. After a one-year hiatus, he joined the Army.
"His heart was in the military," she said. "He always wanted to be a soldier, and he's a very good one."
Bollinger described her brother as a humble man who has a way of making people laugh.
"He doesn't want people to feel sorry for him when he's just doing his job," Bollinger said. "He's my hero. He really is."
Want to help?
What -- Benefit dinner for Staff Sgt. Jon Martin
Where -- Sports Hut, 938 W. Main St., Bellevue
When -- 11 a.m. Nov. 25
There will also be a silent auction
Donations can be sent to the Jon Martin Fund at First National Bank of Bellevue, 120 North St., Bellevue 44811, or call 419-483-7340
For information, call Brad Bollinger at 419-307-7564