Lee Martin - Fellow

Feb 13, 2012
Lee Martin and Congressman Steve Austria
Lee Martin - Fellow

When Lee Martin enrolled at Ohio State University, he didn’t exactly have his heart set on a life of service. As a freshman, for example, he chose computer programming as a major “because you can make money in it.”                 

But one day, while Martin was visiting the home of a friend who had decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, the local recruiter stopped by. “We talked,” he says, “and I decided to make a change.” 

Martin went on to enlist in the Marines in 2000 and was deployed in 2004 to Fallujah, Iraq, where he served as a radio technician. “Our job was to fix whatever needed it,” he says, “computers, radios, whatever was broke.”

Now a fellow in the Wounded Warrior Program, Martin is fixing things for his fellow veterans as the Veterans Congressional Assistant for Ohio Congressman Steve Austria. “Any vets having trouble with benefit issues, retirement issues, pay, or military records, or even awards or medals they’ve earned and not received – they come to me,” he says.

Martin says that he gets a thrill out of seeing the “inner workings” of a Congressional office, and each day presents its own set of challenges. Typically, he spends most of his time initiating new cases for veteran constituents and following up with current cases. There’s also a fair amount of face time and outreach involved. Most recently, Martin spent two hours sifting through paperwork one-on-one with a veteran to determine “where he’s been and where he needs to go next.”

One of Martin’s most rewarding moments so far came this past Veterans Day. During a ceremony in Dayton, Martin watched as Congressman Austria presented a Purple Heart to one of Martin’s veterans. “We helped him obtain it,” he says. “It was great to see that end result.”   

A native of Wapakaoneta, Ohio, Martin found the Wounded Warrior Program after completing vocational rehab through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He now holds a degree in human resources and says that he hopes to continue working in the field. “I love working face to face with people rather than machines,” he says.

Plus, it’s a little easier on his body. “That was good work, for sure,” he says, “but these days I’d rather take a shower before work than after work.”