ALBEMARLE –– Those driving past the Albemarle Police Department the morning of Saturday, Jan. 11, might have noticed something out of the ordinary: an officer standing on the roof.
The man on the roof, Albemarle Police Capt. David A. Hunt, climbed to the top of the building to raise money for a fellow officer in need. In only 38 minutes Hunt had raised $1,000 in donations for Sgt. Mike Martin, his longtime coworker and friend.
In November, Martin was unexpectedly diagnosed with brain cancer and has since accumulated large medical expenses for his treatment.
Martin spent 33 years as a school resource officer and sergeant in the Stanly County school system until his retirement in 2012. After growing restless in retirement, he signed on with Stanly Community College to become its director of security, a position that he has held and cherished ever since.
After his cancer diagnosis, Martin faced substantial costs from the medical treatment, but now the community is giving back.
The APD was able to generate $4,385 in donations on Saturday morning alone; as of Tuesday, a separate GoFundMe page dedicated to Martin’s fundraiser has raised $7,580 from 140 different donors.
“The response from the community has been the most humbling experience of my blessed life,” Martin said in a written statement. “I cannot talk about it without tears in my eyes. My ultimate goal is to kill this beast in my brain and get back to work. Let me say one more thing. I, throughout my career, have worked with many officers and educators more deserving than me. I cannot begin to thank everyone.”
In addition to his medical costs, Martin is also in need of a motorized wheelchair and a lift for his vehicle. Those items will either be purchased with the fundraiser donations or donated locally. Hunt mentioned that he has had a few people eager to donate their chairs to Martin.
“People are still continuing to come by and drop off donations –– I’m blown away,” said Hunt. “Mike wants people to know that with anything left over, he wants to be put into an emergency fund for officers here. About five years ago, we had an officer who had a house fire, so we sent him some money to help with that. That’s the kind of thing that fund is for.”
Martin and Hunt have known each other since the late 1980s, when Hunt was a teenager in the Law Enforcement Exploring program. For part of that time, Martin was his advisor. In 1992, Hunt was hired by the APD and assigned to a unit that Martin supervised over.
And in 2006, Hunt began working as a school resource officer role where Martin served as his sergeant. Their bond has been long-lasting –– Martin was an attendee at Hunt’s wedding.
“With so much of what Mike did, people don’t see. He’s not the guy that wants all that attention,” said Hunt. “There’s all the extracurricular stuff that school resource officers do: the time spent mentoring kids who are having personal problems and being available for them after-hours. He coached some youth sports and touched so many people in what he did.”
The ongoing online fundraiser can be found by searching for the “Money for Martin” page on GoFundMe’s website.