Many friends and past acquaintances of Martin's have contacted the family over the past several months recounting stories of kindness and compassion they never knew he was a part of. One such story came from a Bethlehem resident who used to receive the daily newspaper delivered by Shawn when he was a boy. He said Shawn always shoveled the walk on snowy days and always left the paper inside the door.
"He believed you can all be heroes; you don't have to be on the battlefield to do it," said Dawn Martin.
Martin grew up in Bethlehem and was a 1995 graduate of Bethlehem Central High School, where he also played football. He followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps after high school and joined the Elsmere Fire Company, where he served for several years before heading off to join the Marines and leaving for Camp Pendleton.
"We bless his family who feels the pain of his loss more than anyone else," said the Rev. James Daley, Elsmere firehouse chaplain.
Rebecca Hoffman, president of the Capital District Gold Star Mothers, presented Dawn Martin with a Gold Star banner as a display of support for the loss of her son.
Martin is at least the third Bethlehem native killed in Iraq since the conflict began. Army Sgt. Thomas D. Robbins was killed in action in 2004 and Army Capt. Timothy Moshier died in 2006 when the Apache Helicopter he was piloting crashed outside of Baghdad.
Martin's wife, Marianne, was unable to attend the ceremony. She lives in Herkimer County, where another Bronze Star ceremony for Martin will be held.""