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Smithsburg student gives back to community by making grandstand play

May 12, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

SMITHSBURG - The bleachers were splintered, needed repairs and were unsafe to sit on.

Now, thanks to a project by Smithsburg High School senior John T. Martin, the bleachers at the Smithsburg Little Sluggers/Cal Ripken baseball field have been replaced.

"They definitely needed repairs," said Roger Kuehl, president of the Smithsburg Little Sluggers.

Martin, who is called Tim, completed the work as part of an Eagle Scout project about two years ago, but recently was given an award for his efforts. He was awarded a state-level Certificate of Excellence in the 2008 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program.

Prudential Finance, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), annually honors youth across the country for outstanding community service work, according to a Washington County Public Schools press release.

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Martin also has received a President's Volunteer Service Award from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Martin spent almost a year on his service project, which involved replacement of three sets of bleachers and the addition of more attractive landscaping at the baseball field. The project included a presentation to the league's board of directors, planning, coordinating materials, volunteers and schedules, and work on the construction and landscaping.

Martin said he chose the project because he used to play baseball on that field.

"I learned I wasn't any good, and stopped playing sports," he said. "I only played for a year, but it was really fun."

Martin now sits on the bleachers he restored to watch his 10-year-old brother, Justin Martin, play ball.

"Many people gave of their time and energy when I played ball in Smithsburg, and this was a way for me to give back to the community," Martin said. "The field will be a safer and more attractive place for everyone to watch and enjoy youth baseball."

He will attend Hagerstown Community College in the fall and plans to transfer to another college to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.

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