A Mission to Serve Captures National Attention…

Ida Martin honored at the White House with the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal in a face to face ceremony with President Barack Obama, one of the highest civilian honors in the United States.

With the spring of 1987 came Ms. Ida’s dream. It began with little more than a huge heart and the passion to help people she met on her walks through the neighborhood. In the fall of 1988 that dream took shape as Bluffton Self Help was officially chartered, and since then BSH has morphed into a reality bigger than she might ever imagine.

In June 2011, BSH’s new Executive Director, Lili Coleman, was convinced that Ms. Ida’s dream was big enough to share with the President. With strong board approval, the nomination was submitted for the Presidential Citizens Award. The first indication that Mrs. Martin was in the running arrived in July when a call came to the agency from the White House. “The White House was calling! We cheered with excitement, whispering amongst ourselves that she had a chance.

Ida Martin was advised by the staff in a phone call that if she received a call from them… it was definitely a legitimate call!”

After a few more phone calls during the summer, we didn’t hear anything again until late September. More questions and information about Bluffton Self Help was provided to the White House staff. In October, while planning the grand opening, we emailed the White House for an update. Within hours,a short email from the White House contact read, “call me.” With bated breathe, we called. She was one of the recipients and she was on her way to the White House!

Download the entire story here of Ida’s journey to the White House, as told by Lili Coleman, BSH Executive Director.

Ms. Ida’s commitment to serve continues to capture the hearts of many in our local community. In 2012, Ms. Ida has been recognized in the following ways:

Ms. Ida co-honored at the Hilton Head Bluffton Chamber of Commerce sharing the covenant Alice Glenn Doughtie Citizenship Award with Betsy Doughtie of Deep Well.

Ms. Ida becomes first woman and living honoree to be inducted into the Town of Bluffton Wall of Honor for her outstanding contribution to the Bluffton Community.

Ms. Ida is honored with the presentation of a oil on canvas mural depicting her life of service by local artist Michael McClendon, who, after learning about her was compelled to paint her story.