He was a man who lived to serve others and a man who died in fulfillment of his dreams.
Friends and relatives gathered at St. Thomas the Apostle church in Delmar Thursday, June 26, to mourn and remember the life of Sgt. Shawn Martin of the U.S. Marine Corps, who was killed June 20 by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Friends called Martin a server, a protector and someone who was proud to wear his uniform every day.
Joe Feller, a family friend, spoke at Martin's funeral. He called Martin a man of integrity who demonstrated respect, thoughtfulness, love and caring for those around him.
He was the first to step up to the plate and face any and all obstacles, Feller said. "His dream was to follow in his father's footsteps and join the fire department. He was proud to do that and proud to be a Marine."
Following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, Martin became a volunteer firefighter with the Elsmere Fire Company in 1995 and served until 2000.
Feller said, as a boy, Martin loved games like Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit.
"We always lost at Trivial Pursuit because his sister, Nicolle, was so good, but we often had a chance at Pictionary -- if we could decipher Shawn's drawings," he said.
Feller said Martin was someone who was living his dream.
"He got to do with his life what he wanted to do; he experienced fulfillment of his dream. Not many people are able to do that," he said.
Feller urged mourners to use Martin as an example in their own lives.
"Let us live with integrity, have high morals and values, and be people of good character. Let us be the first to step up at the plate no matter what the risk and be willing to risk it all if necessary," Feller said.