Bellevue soldier dies of Iraq blast injuries

BELLEVUE Staff Sgt. Jon Martin of Bellevue never considered himself a hero. His sense of duty and honor compelled him
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

 

BELLEVUE

Staff Sgt. Jon Martin of Bellevue never considered himself a hero.

His sense of duty and honor compelled him to fight for his country.

"It didn't faze him," his sister Heather Bollinger said. "When he put his boots on, he believed in God, and he believed in God's will. He has been my hero."

And that's the way his family will remember him.

Martin, 33, died Thanksgiving Day in a hospital in Germany from injuries he suffered Nov. 9 when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. The father of three was serving his third tour in Iraq.

"You know you try to define what a hero is. It's not somebody that wants to toot their own horn," said Martin's brother-in-law, Brad Bollinger. "Jon was not like that. He was just doing his job."

Martin suffered critical injuries from the blast that left him in a medically-induced coma in a German hospital while surgeons attempted to repair the damage.

After the explosion, surgeons amputated Martin's leg and removed his spleen. He also suffered a broken left arm and pelvis and punctured lung. He was on a ventilator and dialysis machine because his kidneys were failing.

His brother-in-law said more information will be available today after Martin's wife, Becki, and mother, Laura Martin, return from Germany late Friday. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements because they do not know when Martin's body will make its way home.

Martin, a 1993 graduate of Bellevue High School, served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. One year after he left the Marines, he joined the Army. A platoon leader for the 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky., he returned to Iraq for his third tour despite being wounded during his second. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.

Heather Bollinger said her brother's death has been difficult to accept.

"We live our life as if Jon is still in Iraq. It's difficult. We can't believe it yet," she said. "There are no words to describe how we feel. We just try to stick by each other's side. Nothing's going to bring him back, but we have to be supportive of the family."

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. Trenton is staying with Brad and Heather Bollinger.

Brad Bollinger said the family is waiting for the older children to return from Kentucky to tell them about their father's death.

Heather Bollinger said Martin's children will help ease the pain of losing her brother.

"They all carry some part of Jon," she said, "whether it be a smirk or something they say. That's what's going to get us through."

How to help

Two benefit events are planned to help the family of Staff Sgt. Jon Martin:

Today

* When -- 6 p.m.

* Where -- Club Amer-Ital, 600 S. West St. and Ohio 269, Bellevue

* There will also be a silent auction, an Arbonne presentation with 35 percent of the commission going to Laura and Rebecca Martin, mother and wife of Jon Martin, a 50/50 raffle and cookies.

Sunday

* When -- 11 a.m.

* Where -- Sports Hut, 938 W. Main St., Bellevue

* There will also be a silent auction

To donate

* Donations may 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