By: Bob Pompeani
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Marine Corps veteran from Pittsburgh is getting ready for his big moment in Tampa Bay this weekend.READ MORE: Senate Republicans Block Bill To Suspend Debt Limit That Would Avert Government Shutdown
Center Township native James Martin is one of this year’s honorary captains at Super Bowl LV when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.
Martin was deployed on three separate occasions with the Marines to both Iraq and Afghanistan, then in 2013, he was injured in combat.
He was paralyzed from the chest down.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep going but I have children, and I said that I wanted to be able to chase my son, so I had to do something,” Martin said.
Getting involved with the Wounded Warriors Project.READ MORE: Allegheny Co. Police Release New Image Of Suspect Wanted In Penn Hills Shooting
They helped Martin regain his life and also inspired him to help others.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin helped organize live streams of Aliquippa High School athletics so people could watch while not being able to attend in person.
Martin also helped coordinate a massive video game live stream that helped connect more than 1,500 fellow veterans and their families.
The NFL took notice of what Martin had done, announcing last week that Martin would serve as one of three honorary captains at Super Bowl LV.
“We all need connection,” Martin said. “If there’s anything this pandemic has shown, it’s that everybody needs the interaction, they need their friends, they need their family, they need their restaurants and that’s understood, but when we can’t have them, there’s always another way.”
Martin and his wife Renee have also opened up their home for children who have nowhere else to go.
This is why he’s glad that she’ll be able to experience the Super Bowl right alongside him.MORE NEWS: Local Pharmacies Offering Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots For Eligible Individuals
“She deserves it as much as anyone else because if it wasn’t for what she does as an educator at the Aliquippa School District and taking one for the team, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did, so it’s just as much for her as it is for me.”